Skip to main content

Full text of "The history of England from the accession of James II"

See other formats

(David ©.oMc9<aij c£dbftafty 


v. 2 

Presented by: The Jaques ! Heirs in 
memory of John J agues 


ookseller and Stationer 

UTAH. ';// 


AS '3 V 







r jflf! 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 














s.'H :1 




The Power of James at the height 13 

His Foreign Policy 14 

His Plans of Domestic Government; The Habeas Corpus Act; 

The Standing Army 15 

Designs in favour of the Roman Catholic Religion 17 

Violation of the Test Act ; Disgrace of Halifax 22 

General Discontent 23 

Persecution of the French Huguenots 24 

Effect of that Persecution in England 27 

Meeting of Parliament; Speech of the King 27 

An Opposition formed in the House of Commons 28 

Sentiments of Foreign Governments 30 

Committee of the Commons on the King's Speech 31 

Defeat of the Government 35 

Second Defeat of the Government ; The King reprimands the 

Commons; Coke committed by the Commons for Disrespect 

to the King 37 

Opposition to the Government in the Lords ; The Earl of 

Devonshire 39 

The Bishop of London ; Viscount Mordaunt 40 

Prorogation ; Trials of Lord Gerard and.of Hampden 43 

Trial of Delamere 45 

Elf ect of his Acquittal 47 

Parties in the Court; Feeling of the Protestant Tories 48 

Publication of Papers found in the Strong Box of Charles II. 50 

Feeling of the respectable Roman Catholics 51 

Cabal of violent Roman Catholics ; Castelmaine ; Jermyn ; 

White ; Tyrconnel 53 

Feeling of the Ministers of Foreign Governments 56 

VOL. II 3 



The Pope and the Order of Jesug opposed to each other ; The 

Order of Jesus 58 

Father Petre ; The King's Temper and Opinions 65 

The King encouraged in bis errors by Sunderland „ 67 

Perfidy of Jeffreys ; Godolphin ; The Queen 70 

Amours of the King ; Catherine Sedley 71 

Intrigues of Rochester in favour of Catherine Sedley 73 

Decline of Rochester's Influence 76 

Castelmaine sent to Rome ; The Huguenots ill-treated by 

James 79 

The Dispensing Power 82 

Dismission of refractory Judges 83 

Case of Sir Edward Hales 85 

Roman Catholics authorised to hold Ecclesiastical Benefices; 

Sclater . .'. 86 

Walker 87 

The Deanery of Christchurch given to a Roman Catholic; 

Disposal of Bishoprics 88 

Resolution of James to use his Ecclesiastical Supremacy 

against the Church 89 

His Difficulties 90 

He creates a new Court of High Commission 93 

Proceedings against the Bishop of London 96 

Discontent excited by the Public Display of Roman Catholic 

Rites and Vestments 97 

Riots a 99 

A Camp formed at Hounslow 101 

Samuel Johnson 102 

Hugh Speke 1 03 

Proceedings against Johnson 101 

Zeal of the Anglican Church against Popery 106 

The Roman Catholic Divines overmatched 107 

State of Scotland 109 

Queensberry ; Perth and Melfort 110 

Favour shown to the Roman Catholic Religion in Scotland; 

Riots at Edinburgh 112 

Anger of the King 113 

His Plans concerning Scotland; Deputation of Scotch Privy 

Councillors sent to London 114 

Their Negotiations with the King 115 



Meeting of the Scotch Estates; They prove refractory ... 116 

They are adjourned ; Arbitrary System of Government in 

Scotland 120 

Ireland; State of the Law on the subject of Religion 122 

Hostility of Races 123 

Aboriginal Peasantry; Aboriginal Aristocracy 124 

State of the English Colony 126 

Course which James ought to have followed 128 

His Errors 130 

Clarendon arrives in Ireland as Lord Lieutenant 132 

His Mortifications; Panic among the Colonists 133 

Arrival of Tyrconnel at Dublin as General . 136 

His Partiality and Violence 137 

He is bent on the Repeal of the Act of Settlement ; He returns 

to England . . . 138 

The King displeased with Clarendon 139 

Rochester attacked by the Jesuitical Cabal 140 

Attempts of James to convert Rochester . 142 

Dismission of Rochester 146 

Dismission of Clarendon; Tyrconnel Lord Deputy 148 

Dismay of the English Colonists in Ireland 150 

Effect of the Fall of the Hydes 151 


William, Prince of Orange ; His Appearance 152 

His early Life and Education. 153 

His theological Opinions 154 

His military Qualifications 156 

His Love of Danger : his bad Health 158 

Coldness of his Manners and Strength of his Emotions ; His 

Friendship for Bentinck 158 

Mary, Princess of Orange 162 

Gilbert Burnet 163 

He brings about a good Understanding between the Prince 

and Princess 167 

Relations between William and English Parties 169 

His Feelings towards England ; His Feelings towards Holland 

and France 169 

His Policy consistent throughout 174 



Treaty of Augsburg 177 

William becomes the Head of the English Opposition 178 

Mordaunt proposes to William a Descent on England ]79 

"William rejects the Advice ISO 

Discontent in England after the Fall of the Hydes ; Conver- 
sions to Popery ; Peterborough ; Salisbury 181 

AVycherley ; Tindal ; Haines 182 

Dryden 183 

The Hind and Panther „ 1S6 

Change in the Policy of the Court towards the Puritans 187 

Partial Toleration granted in Scotland 192 

Closeting; It is unsuccessful 193 

Admiral Herbert 194 

Declaration of Indulgence 195 

Feeling of the Protestant Dissenters 197 

Feelings of die Church of England 198 

The Court and the Church 199 

Letter to a Dissenter ; Conduct of the Dissenters 202 

Some of the Dissenters side with the Court ; Care ; Alsop ; 

Rosewell : Lobb 205 

Penn ; The Majority of the Puritans are against the Court ; 

Baxter 206 

Howe ; Bunyan 207 

Kiffin 210 

The Prince and Princess of Orange hostile to the Declaration 

of Indulgence 215 

Their Views respecting the English Roman Catholics vindi- 
cated 217 

Enmity of James to Burnet 223 

Mission of Dykvelt to England ; Negotiations of Dykvelt with 

English Statesmen 225 

Dauby; Nottingham 226 

Halifax ; Devonshire 228 

Edward Russell ; Compton ; Herbert 232 

Churchill : 233 

Lady Churchill and the Princess Anne 234 

Dykvelt returns to the Hague ; with Letters from many emi- 
nent Englishmen 237 

Zulestein's Mission 238 

Growing Enmity between James and William 239 



Influence of the Dutch Press ; Correspondence of Stewart and 

Fagel 241 

Castelmaine's Embassy to Rome 242 


Consecration of the Nuncio at St. James's Palace ; His public 

Reception ; The Duke of Somerset 247 

Dissolution of the Parliament; Military Offences illegally 

punished 249 

Proceedings of the High Commission ; The Universities 252 

Proceedings against the University of Cambridge 254 

The Earl of Mulgrave 255 

State of Oxford 258 

Magdalene College, Oxford 260 

Anthony Farmer recommended by the King for President. . . 263 

Election of the President 264 

The Fellows of Magdalene cited before the High Commission 265 

Parker recommended as President ; The Charterhouse 266 

The Royal Progress 267 

The King at Oxford ; He reprimands the Fellows of Mag- 
dalene 270 

Penn attempts to mediate 271 

Special Ecclesiastical Commissioners sent to Oxford 274 

Protest of Hough ; Parker 275 

Ejection of the Fellows 277 

Magdalene College turned into a Popish Seminary 278 

Resentment of the Clergy 279 

Schemes of the Jesuitical Cabal respecting the Succession. . . 280 
Scheme of James and Tyrconnel for preventing the Princess 
of Orange from succeeding to the Kingdom of Ireland. . . . 282 

The Queen pregnant ; General Incredulity 283 

Feeling of the Constituent Bodies, and of the Peers 286 

James determines to pack a Parliament 288 

The Board of Regulators 289 

Many Lords Lieutenants dismissed ; The Earl of Oxford 290 

The Earl of Shrewsbury 291 

The Earl of Dorset 293 

Questions put to the Magistrates ; Their Answers ; Failure of 
the King's Plans 297 



List of Sheriffs ; Character of the Roman Catholic Country 

Gentlemen 301 

Feeling of the Dissenters 304 

Regulation of Corporations 305 

Inquisition in all the Public Departments 308 

Dismission of Sawyer 310 

Williams Solicitor General 311 

Second Declaration of Indulgence ; The Clergy ordered to 

read it "... 312 

They hesitate ; Patriotism of the Protestant Nonconformists 

of London . . . 314 

Consultation of the London Clergy 315 

Consultation at Lambeth Palace 317 

Petition of the Seven Bishops presented to the King 318 

The London Clergy disobey the Royal Order 321 

Hesitation of the Government 322 

It is determined to prosecute the Bishops for a Libel 324 

They are examined by the Privy Council 325 

They are committed to the Tower 326 

Birth of the Pretender ; He is generally believed to be sup- 
posititious 328 

The Bishops brought before the King's Bench and bailed. . . . 332 

Agitation of the Public Mind 335 

Uneasiness of Sunderland 336 

He professes himself a Roman Catholic 337 

Trial of the Bishops 338 

The Verdict ; Joy of the People 348 

Peculiar State of Public Feeling at this time 353 

Change in the Opinion of the Tories concerning the Lawful- 
ness of Resistance 357 

Russell proposes to the Prince of Orange a descent on Eng- 
land ; Henry Sidney 365 

Devonshire 366 

Shrewsbury ; Halifax ; Danby 367 

Bishop Compton 368 

Nottingham ; Lumley 369 

Invitation to William despatched 370 

Conduct of Mary 371 



Difficulties of William's Enterprise. 372 

Conduct of James after the Trial of the Bishops 376 

Dismissions and Promotions 378 

Proceedings of the High Commission. Sprat resigns his Seat 379 

Discontent of the Clergy; Transactions at Oxford 380 

Discontent of the Gentry ; Discontent of the Army 382 

Irish Troops brought over ; Public Indignation 384 

Lillibullero 389 

Politics of the United Provinces ; Errors of the French King 390 

His Quarrel with the Pope concerning Franchises 393 

The Archbishopric of Cologne 394 

Skilful Management of William 395 

His Military and Naval Preparations 396 

He receives numerous Assurances of Support from England.. 398 

Sunderland 399 

Anxiety of William ; Warnings conveyed to James 403 

Exertions of Lewis to save James 405 

James frustrates them 406 

The French Armies invade Germany 408 

William obtains the Sanction of the States General to his Ex- 
pedition 410 

Schomberg ; British Adventurers at the Hague 411 

William's Declaration 413 

James roused to a Sense of his Danger 415 

His Naval Means 416 

His Military Means: He attempts to conciliate his subjects.. 417 

He gives Audience to the Bishops 419 

His Concessions ill received 420 

Proofs of the Birth of the Prince of Wales submitted to the 

Privy Council 423 

Disgrace of Sunderland 425 

William takes leave of the States of Holland 426 

He embarks and sails ; He is driven back by a Storm 427 

His Declaration arrives in England; James questions the 

Lords 428 

William sets sail a second time 430 

He passes the Straits 432 

He lands at Torbay 433 

He enters Exeter 437 

Conversation of the King with the Bishops , 442 



Disturbances in London 415 

Men of Rank begin to repair to the Prince ; Lovelace 416 

Colchester ; Abingdon 448 

Desertion of Cornbury 419 

Petition of the Lords for a Parliament 453 

The King goes to Salisbury 455 

Seymour ; Court of William at Exeter 456 

Northern Insurrection 457 

Skirmish at Wincanton 460 

Desertion of Churchill and Grafton 462 

Retreat of the Royal Army from Salisbury 463 

Desertion of Prince George and Ormond 464 

Flight of the Princess Anne 465 

Council of Lords held by James 467 

He appoints Commissioners to treat with William 471 

The Negotiation a Feint 472 

Dartmouth refuses to send the Prince of Wales into France . . 474 

Agitation of London 475 

Forged Proclamation 476 

Risings in various Parts of the Country 477 

Clarendon joins the Prince at Salisbury; Dissension in the 

Prince's Camp 479 

The Prince reaches Hungerford ; Skirmish at Reading 482 

The King's Commissioners arrive at Hungerford ; Negotiation 483 

The Queen and the Prince of Wales sent to France ; Lauzun 4S9 

The King's Preparations for Flight 492 

His Flight 493 



The Flight of James known ; Great Agitation 495 

The Lords meet at Guildhall 496 

Riots in London 499 

The Spanish Ambassador's House sacked 501 

Arrest of Jeffreys 502 

The Irish Night 504 

The King detained near Sheerness 508 

The Lords order him to be set at liberty 513 

William's Embarrassment 514 

Arrest of Feversham ; Arrival of James in London 515 



Consultation at Windsor 517 

The Dutch Troops occupy Whitehall ; Message from the 

Prince delivered to James 521 

James sets out for Rochester ; Arrival of William at St. 

James's 522 

He is advised to assume the Crown by Right of Conquest. . . 521 
lie calls together the Lords and the Members of the Parlia- 
ments of Charles II 526 

Flight of James from Rochester 529 

Debates and Resolutions of the Lords 530 

Debates and Resolutions of the Commoners summoned by the 

Prince ; A Convention called ; Exertions of the Prince to 

restore Order 532 

His tolerant Policy 533 

Satisfaction of Roman Catholic Powers ; State of Feeling in 

Fiance 535 

Reception of the Queen of England in France 537 

Arrival of James at Saint Germains 538 

State of Feeling in the United Provinces 540 

Election of Members to serve in the Convention 541 

Alf airs of Scotland 542 

State of Parties in England 545 

Sherlock's Plan 547 

Sancrof t's Plan 549 

Danby's Plan 551 

The Whig Plan 553 

Meeting of the Convention ; Leading Members of the House 

of Commons 554 

Choice of a Speaker 550 

Debate on the State of the Nation 558 

desolation declaring the Throne vacant 500 

It is sent up to the Lords ; Debate in the Lords on the Plan 

of Regency 562 

Schism between the Whigs and the Followers of Danby 569 

Meeting at the Earl of Devonshire's 571 

Debate in the Lords on the Question whether the Throne was 

vacant ; Majority for the Negative; Agitation in London. . 573 

Letter of James to the Convention . . 574 

Debates ; Negotiations ; Letter of the Princrss of Orange to 

Danby ; The Princess Anne acquiesces in the Whig Plan. . 575 



"William explains his Views 577 

The Conference between the Houses 579 

The Lords yield ; New Laws proposed for the Security of 

Liberty 581 

Disputes and Compromise 583 

The Declaration of Right 584 

Arrival of Mary 586 

Tender and Acceptance of the Crown 587 

William and Mary proclaimed ; Peculiar Character of the 

English Revolution < 588 



James was now at the height of power and prosperity. Both 
in England and in Scotland he had vanquished his enemies, 
and had punished them with a severity which had indeed 
excited their bitterest hatred, but had, at the same time, 
effectually quelled their courage. The Whig party seemed 
extinct. The name of Whig was never used except as a term 
of reproach. The Parliament was devoted to the King ; and 
it was in his power to keep that Parliament to the end of his 
reign. The Church was louder than ever in professions of 
attachment to him, and had, during the late insurrection, acted 
up to those professions. The Judges were his tools ; and, if 
they ceased to be so, it was in his power to remove them. The 
corporations were filled with his creatures. His revenues far 
exceeded those of his predecessors. His pride rose high. He 
was not the same man who, a few months before, in doubt 
whether his throne might not be overturned in an hour, had 
implored foreign help with unkingly supplications, and had 
accepted it with tears of gratitude. Visions of dominion and 
glory rose before him. He already saw himself, in imagination, 
the umpire of Europe, the champion of many states oppressed 
by one too powerful monarchy. So early as the month of June 
he had assured the United Provinces that, as soon as the affairs 
of England were settled, he would show the world how little 
he feared France. In conformity with these assurances, he, 
within a month after the battle of Sedgemoor, concluded with 



the States General a defensive treaty, framed in the very spirit 
of the Triple League. It was regarded, both at the Hague and 
at Versailles, as a most significant circumstance that Halifax, 
who was the constant and mortal enemy of French ascendency, 
and who had scarcely ever before been consulted on any grave 
affair since the beginning of the reign, took the lead on this 
occasion, and seemed to have the royal ear. It was a circum- 
stance not less significant that no previous communication was 
made to Barillon. Both he and his master were taken by 
surprise. Lewis was much troubled, and expressed great, and 
not unreasonable, anxiety as to the ulterior designs of the prince 
who had lately been his pensioner and vassal. There were 
strong rumours that William of Orange was busied in organis- 
ing a great confederacy, which was to include both branches of 
the House of Austria, the United Provinces, the kingdom of 
Sweden, and the electorate of Brandenburgh. It now seemed 
that this confederacy would have at its head the King and 
Parliament of England.* 

In fact, negotiations tending to such a result were actually 
opened. Spain proposed to form a close alliance with James ; 
and he listened to the proposition with favour, though it was 
evident that such an alliance would be little less than a declara- 
tion of war against France. But he postponed his final decision 
till after the Parliament should have reassembled. The fate of 
Christendom depended on the temper in which he might then 
find the Commons. If they were disposed to acquiesce in his 
plans of domestic government, there would be nothing to pre- 
vent him from interfering with vigour and authority in the 
great dispute which must soon be brought to an issue on the 
Continent. If they were refractory, he must relinquish all 
thought of arbitrating between contending nations, must again 
implore French assistance, must again submit to French dicta- 
tion, must sink into a potentate of the third or fourth class, and 
must indemnify himself for the contempt with which he would be 
regarded abroad by triumphs over law and public opinion at home. 

* Avaux Nee:., Aug. 6-1G, 1085; Despatch of Van Citters and his colleagues, 
enclosing the treaty, August 14-24 ; Lewis to Barillon, August 14-24, 20-30. 


It seemed, indeed, that it would not be easy for him 
to demand more than the Commons were disposed to give. 
Already they had abundantly proved that they were desirous to 
maintain his prerogatives unimpaired, and that they were by no 
means extreme to mark his encroachments on the rights of the 
people. Indeed eleven twelfths of the members were either 
dependents of the court, or zealous Cavaliers from the country. 
There were few things which such an assembly could pertina- 
ciously refuse to the Sovereign ; bat, happily for the nation, 
those few things were the very things on which James had set 
his heart. 

One of his objects was to obtain a repeal of the Habeas 
Corpus Act, which lie hated, as it was natural that a tyrant 
should hate the most stringent curb that ever legislation im- 
posed on tyranny. This feeling remained deeply fixed in his 
mind to the last, and appears in the instructions which he drew 
up, in exile, for the guidance of his son.* But the Habeas 
Corpus Act, though passed during the ascendency of the Whigs, 
was not more dear to the Whigs than to the Tories. It is 
indeed not wonderful that this great law should be highly 
prized by all Englishmen without distinction of party : for it is 
a law which, not by circuitous, but by direct operation, adds to 
the security and happiness of every inhabitant of the realm.f 

James had yet another design, odious to the party which had 
set him on the throne and which had upheld him there. He 
wished to form a great standing army. He had taken advan- 
tage of the late insurrection to make large additions to the 
military force which his brother had left. The bodies now 
designated as the first six regiments of dragoon guards, the 
third and fourth regiments of dragoons, and the nine regiments 
of infantry of the line, from the seventh to the fifteenth inclu- 
sive, had just been raised. t The effect of these augmentations, 

* Instructions headed, " For my son the Prince of Wales, 1G92," among the 
Stuart Papers. 

t " The Habeas Corpus." said Johnson, the most bigoted of Tories, to Bos well, 
"is the single advantage which our government has over that of other countries." 

t See the Historical Records of Regiments, published under the supervision 
of the Adjutant General. 


and of the recall of the garrison of Tangier, was that the 
number of regular troops in England had, in a few months, been 
increased from six thousand to near twenty thousand. l\o 
English King had ever, in time of peace, had such a force at 
his command. Yet even with this force James was not content. 
He often repeated that no confidence could be placed in the 
fidelity of the trainbands, that they sympathised with all the 
passions of the class to which they belonged, that, at Sedgemoor, 
there had been more militiamen in the rebel army than in the 
royal encampment, and that, if the throne had been defended 
only by the array of the counties, Monmouth would have 
marched in triumph from Lyme to London. 

The revenue, large as it was when compared with that of 
former Kings, barely sufficed to meet this new charge. A great 
part of the produce of the new taxes was absorbed by the naval 
expenditure. At the close of the late reign the whole cost of 
the army, the Tangier regiments included, had been under three 
hundred thousand pounds a year. Six hundred thousand pounds 
a year would not now suffice.* If any further augmentation 
were made, it would be necessary to demand a supply from Par- 
liament ; and it was not likely that Parliament would be in a 
complying mood. The very name of standing army was hateful 
to. the whole nation, and to no part of the nation more hateful 
than to the Cavalier gentlemen who filled the Lower House. In 
their minds a standing army was inseparably associated with the 
Pump, with the Protector, with the spoliation of the Church, 
with the purgation of the Universities, with the abolition of the 
peerage, with the murder of the King, with the sullen reign of 
the Saints, with cant and asceticism, with fines and sequestrations, 
with the insults which Major Generals, sprung from the dregs 
of the people, had offered to the oldest and most honourable 
families of the kingdom. There was, moreover, scarcely a 
baronet or a squire in the Parliament who did not owe part of 

* Barillon, Dec. 3-13, 1GS5. He had studied the subject much. " C'est un 
detail," ho says, " dont j'ai coivnoissance." It appears from the Treasury War- 
rant Book that the charge of the army for the year 16S7 was fixed on the first of 
January at G23, 104/. 9s. lie?. 


his importance in his own county to his rank in the militia. If 
that national force were set aside, the gentry of England must 
lose much of their dignity and influence. It was therefore 
probabls that the King would find it more difficult to obtain 
funds for the support of his army than even to obtain the repeal 
of the Habeas Corpus Act. 

But both the designs which have been mentioned were sub- 
ordinate to one great design on which the King's whole soul 
was bent, but which was abhorred by those Tory gentlemen who 
were ready to shed their blood for his rights, abhorred by that 
Church which had never, during three generations of civil dis- 
cord, wavered in fidelity to his house, abhorred even by that 
army on which, in the last extremity, he must rely. 

His religion was still under proscription. Many rigorous 
lawfi against Roman Catholics appeared on the Statute Book, 
and had, within no long time, been rigorously executed. The 
Test Act excluded from civil and military office all who dissent- 
ed from the Church of England ; and, by a subsequent Act, 
passed when the fictions of Oates had driven the nation wild, it 
had been provided that no person should sit in either House of 
Parliament without solemnly abjuring the doctrine of transub- 
stantiation. That the King should wish to obtain for the Church 
to which he belonged a complete toleration was natural and right ; 
nor is there any reason to doubt that, by a little patience, pru- 
dence, and justice, such a toleration might have been obtained. 

The extreme antipathy and dread with which the English 
people regarded his religion was not to be ascribed solely or 
chiefly to theological animosity. That salvation might be 
found in the Church of Rome, nay, that some members of that 
Church had been among the brighest examples of Christian 
virtue, was admitted by all divines of the Anglican commu- 
nion and by the most illustrious Nonconformists. It is noto- 
rious that the penal laws against Popery were strenuously de- 
fended by many who thought Arianism, Quakerism, and Juda- 
ism more dangerous, in a spiritual point of view, than Popery, 
and who yet showed no disposition to enact similar laws against 
Arians, Quakers, or Jews. 
Vol. II.— 2 


It is easy to explain why the^Rornan Catholic was treated 
with less indulgence than was shown to men who renounced 
the doctrine of the Nicene fathers, and even to men who had 
not been admitted by baptism within the Christian pale. 
There was among the English a strong conviction that the 
Roman Catholic, where the interests of his religion were con- 
cerned, thought himself free from all the ordinary rules of 
morality, nay, that he thought it meritorious to violate those 
rules if, by so doing, he could avert injury or reproach from 
the Church of which he was a member. 

Nor was this opinion destitute of a show of reason. It was 
impossible to deny that Roman Catholic casuists of great 
eminence had written in defence of equivocation, ot mental 
reservation, of perjury, and even of assassination. Nor, it 
was said, had the speculations of this odious school of sophists 
been barren of results. The massacre of Saint Bartholomew, 
the murder of the first William of Orange, the murder of 
Henry the Third of France, the numerous conspiracies which 
had been formed against the life of Elizabeth, and, above all, 
the gunpowder treason, were constantly cited as instances of 
the close connection between vicious theory and vicious prac- 
tice. It was alleged that every one of those crimes had been 
prompted or applauded by Roman Catholic divines. The 
letters which Everard Digby wrote in lemon juice from the 
Tower to his wife had recently been published, and were often 
quoted. He was a scholar and a gentleman, upright in all 
ordinary dealings, and strongly impressed with a sense of duty 
to God. Yet he had been deeply concerned in the plot for blow- 
ing up King, Lords, and Commons, and had, on the brink of 
eternity, declared that it was incomprehensible to him how any 
Roman Catholic should think such a design sinful. The infer- 
ence popularly drawn from these things was that, however fair 
the general character of a Papist might be, there was no excess 
of fraud or cruelty of which he was not capable when the 
safety and honour of his Church were at stake. 

The extraordinary success of the fables of Oates is to be 
chiefly ascribed to the prevalence of this opinion. It was to 


no purpose that the accused Roman Catholic appealed to the 
integrity, humanity, and loyalty which he had shown through 
the whole course of his life. It was to no purpose that he 
called crowds of respectable witnesses, of his own persuasion, 
to contradict monstrous romances invented by the most in- 
famous of mankind. It was to no purpose that, with the halter 
round his neck, he invoked on himself the whole vengeance of 
the God before whom, in a few moments, he must appear, if he 
had been guilty of meditating any ill to his prince or to his 
Protestant fellow countrymen. The evidence which he pro- 
duced in his favour proved only how little Popish oaths were 
worth. His very virtues raised a presumption of his guilt. 
That he had before him death and judgment in immediate pros- 
pect only made it more likely that he would deny what, with- 
out injury to the holiest of causes, he could not confess. 
Among the unhappy men who were convicted of the murder of 
Godfrey was one Protestant of no high character, Henry Berry. 
It was a remarkable and well attested circumstance, that Berry's 
last words did more to shake the credit of the plot than the 
dying declarations of pious and honourable Roman Catholics 
who underwent the same fate.* 

It was not only by the ignorant populace, it was not only by 
zealots in whom fanaticism had extinguished all reason and 
charity, that the Roman Catholic was regarded as a man the 
very tenderness of whose conscience might make him a false 
witness, an incendiary, or a murderer, as a man who, where his 
Church was concerned, shrank from no atrocity and could be 
bound by no oath. If there were in that age two persons in- 
clined by their judgment and by their temper to toleration, 
those persons were Tillotson and Locke. Yet Tillotson, whose 
indulgence for various kinds of schismatics and heretics brought 
on him the reproach of heterodoxy, told the House of Commons 
from the pulpit that it was their duty to make effectual provision 
against the propagation of a religion more mischievous than 
irreligion itself, of a religion which demanded from its followers 
services directly opposed to the first principles of morality. 

* Burnet, i. 447. 


His temper, lie truly said, was prone to lenity ; but his duty 
to the community forced him to be, in this one instance, severe. 
He declared that, in his judgment, Pagans who had never heard 
the name of Christ, and who were guided only by the light of 
nature, were more trustworthy members of civil society than men 
who had been formed in the schools of the Popish casuists.* 
Locke, in the celebrated treatise in which he laboured to show 
that even the grossest forms of idolatry ought not to be prohibit- 
ed under penal sanctions, contended that the Church which taught 
men not to keep faith with heretics had no claim to toleration.f 

It is evident that, in such circumstances, the greatest service 
which an English Roman Catholic could render to his brethren 
in the faith was to convince the public that, whatever some too 
subtle theorists might have written, whatever some rash men 
might, in times of violent excitement, have done, his Church did 
not hold that any end could sanctify means inconsistent with 
morality. And this great service it was in the power of James 
to render. He was King. He was more powerful than any 
English King had been within the memory of the oldest man. 
It depended on him whether the reproach which lay on his 
religion should be taken away or should be made permanent. 

Had he conformed to the laws, had he kept his promises, 
had he abstained from employing any unrighteous methods for 
the propagation of his own theological tenets, had he suspended 
the operation of the penal statutes by a large exercise of his un- 
questionable prerogative of mercy, but, at the same time, care- 
fully abstained from violating the civil or ecclesiastical constitu- 
tion of the realm, the feeling of his people must have under- 
gone a rapid change. So conspicuous an example of good faith 
punctiliously observed by a Popish prince towards a Protestant 
nation would have quieted the public apprehensions. Men who 
saw that a Romau Catholic might safely be suffered to direct 
the whole executive administration, to command the army and 
navy, to convoke and dissolve the legislature, to appoint the 
Bishops and Deans of the Church of England, would soon have 

* Tillotson's Sermon, preached before the House of Commons, Nov. 5, 1678. 
t Locke, First Letter on Toleration. 


ceased to fear that any great evil would arise from allowing a 
Roman Catholic to be captain of a company or alderman of a 
borough. It is probable that, in a few years, the sect so long 
detested by the nation would, with general applause, have been 
admitted to office and to Parliament. 

If, on the other hand, James should attempt to promote the 
interest of his Church by violating the fundamental laws of his 
kingdom and the solemn promises which he had repeatedly made 
in the face of the whole world, it could hardly be doubted that 
the charges which it had been the fashion to brinsr against the 
Roman Catholic religion would be considered by all Protestants 
as fully established. For, if ever a Roman Catholic could be 
expected to keep faith with heretics, James might have been ex- 
pected to keep faith with the Anglican clergy. To them he 
owed his crown. But for their strenuous opposition to the 
Exclusion Bill he would have been a banished man. He had 
repeatedly and emphatically acknowledged the debt which he 
owed to them, and had vowed to maintain them in all their legal 
rights. If he could not be bound by ties like these, it must be 
evident that, where his superstition was concerned, no tie of 
gratitude or of honour could bind him. To trust him would 
thenceforth be impossible ; and, if his people could not trust 
him, what member of his Church could they trust ? He was 
not supposed to be constitutionally or habitually treacherous. To 
his blunt manner, and to his want of consideration for the feel- 
ings of others, he owed a much higher reputation for sincerity 
than he at all deserved. His eulogists affected to call him 
James the Just. If then it should appear that, in turning 
Papist, he had also turned dissembler and promisebreaker, what 
conclnsion was likely to be drawn by a nation already disposed 
to believe that Popery had a pernicious influence on the moral 
character ? 

For these reasons many of the most eminent Roman Catho- 
lics of that age, and among them the Supreme Pontiff, were of 
opinion that the interest of their Church in our island would be 
most effectually promoted by a moderate and constitutional 
policy. But such considerations had no effect on the slow un- 


derstanding and imperious temper of James. In his eagerness 
to remove the disabilities under which the professors of his 
religion lay, he took a course which convinced the most enlight- 
ened and tolerant Protestants of his time that disabilities were 
essential to the safety of the state. To his policy the English 
Roman Catholics owed three years of lawless and insolent 
triumph, and a hundred and forty years of subjection and degra- 

Many members of his Church held commissions in the new- 
ly raised regiments. This breach of the law for a time passed 
uncensured : for men were not disposed to note every irregular- 
ity which was committed by a King suddenly called upon to de- 
fend his crown and his life against rebels. But the danger was 
now over. The insurgents had been vanquished and punished. 
Their unsuccessful attempt had strengthened the government 
which they had hoped to overthrow. Yet still James continued 
to grant commissions to unqualified persons ; and speedily it 
was announced that he was determined to be no longer bound 
by the Test Act, that he hoped to induce the Parliament to re- 
peal that Act, but that, if the Parliament proved refractory, he 
would not the less have his own way. 

As soon as this was known, a deep murmur, the forerunner 
of a tempest, gave him warning that the spirit before which his 
grandfather, his father, and his brother had been compelled to 
recede, though dormant, was not extinct. Opposition appeared 
first in the cabinet. Halifax did not attempt to conceal his 
disgust and alarm. At the Council board he courageously gave 
utterance to those feelings which, as it soon appeared, pervaded 
the whole nation. None of his colleagues seconded him ; and 
the subject dropped. He was summoned to the royal closet, 
and had two lon£ conferences with his master. James tried the 
effect of compliments and blandishments, but to no purpose. 
Halifax positively refused to promise that he would give his vote 
in the House of Lords for the repeal either of the Test Act or 
of the Habeas Corpus Act. 

Some of those who were about the King advised him not, on 
the eve of the meeting of Parliament, to drive the most elo- 


quent and accomplished statesman of the age into opposition. 
They represented that Halifax loved the dignity of office, that 
while he continued to be Lord President, it would be hardly 
possible for him to put forth his whole strength against the gov- 
ernment, and that to dismiss him from his high post was to 
emancipate him from all restraint. The King was peremptory. 
Halifax was informed that his services were no longer needed, 
and his name was struck out of the Council Book.* 

His dismission produced a great sensation not only in Eng- 
land, but also at Paris, at Vienna, and at the Hague : for it was 
well known that he had always laboured to counteract the in- 
fluence exercised by the court of Versailles on English affairs. 
Lewis expressed much pleasure at the news. The ministers of 
the United Provinces and of the House of Austria, on the other 
hand, extolled the wisdom and virtue of the discarded statesman 
in a manner which gave serious offence at Whitehall. James 
was particularly angry with the secretary of the imperial lega- 
tion, who did not scruple to say that the eminent service Hal- 
ifax had performed in the debate on the Exclusion Bill had 
been requited with gross ingratitude. f 

It soon became clear that Halifax would have many follow- 
ers. A portion of the Tories, with their old leader, Danby, 
at their head, began to hold Whiggish language. Even the 
prelates hinted that there was a point at which the loyalty due 
to the prince must yield to higher considerations. The discon- 
tent of the chiefs of the army was still more extraordinary and 
still more formidable. Already began to appear the first symp- 
toms of that feeling which, three years later, impelled so many 
officers of high rank to desert the royal standard. Men who had 
never before had a scruple had on a sudden become strano-elv 
scrupulous. Churchill gently whispered that the King was goin^ 
too far. Kirke, just returned from his Western butchery, swore 
to stand by the Protestant religion. Even if he abjured the 
faith in which he had been bred, he would never, he said, be- 

* Council Book. The erasure is dated Oct. 21, 1685. Barillon, Oct. 19-29. 

t Barillon, ° ct J-^ 16S5 ; Lewis to Barillon, 9^- ; Nov. 6-16. 
Nov. 5, ' Nov. 6. ' «-■»■"• 


come a Papist. He was already bespoken. If ever he did 
apostatise, he was bound by a solemn promise to the Emperor 
of Morocco to turn Mussulman.* 

"While the nation, agitated by many strong emotions, looked 
anxiously forward to the reassembling of the Houses, tidings, 
which increased the prpvailing excitement, arrived from France. 

The Ions: and heroic struijjjle which the Huguenots had main- 
tained against the French government had been brought to a 
final close by the ability and vigour of Richelieu. That great 
statesman vanquished them ; but he confirmed to them the liberty 
of conscience which had been bestowed on them by the edict 
of Nantes. They were suffered, under some restraints of no 
galling kind, to worship God according to their own ritual, and 
to write in defence of their own doctrine. They were admissi- 
ble to political and military employment; nor did their heresy, 
during a considerable time, practically impede their rise in the 
world. Some of them commanded the armies of the state ; and 
others presided over important departments of the civil admin- 
istration. At length a change took place. Lewis the Four- 
teenth had, from an early age, regarded the Calvinists with an 
aversion at once religious and political. As a zealous Roman 
Catholic, he detested their theological dogmas. As a prince 
fond of arbitrary power, he detested those republican theories 
which were intermingled with the Genevese divinity. He 
gradually retrenched all the privileges which the schismatics 
enjoyed. He interfered with the education of Protestant chil- 
dren, confiscated property bequeathed to Protestant consistories, 
and on frivolous pretexts shut up Protestant Churches. The 
Protestant ministers were harassed by the taxgatherers. The 
Protestant magistrates were deprived of the honour of nobility. 
The Protestant officers of the royal household were informed 
that His Majesty dispensed with their services. Orders were 
given that no Protestant should be admitted into the legal pro- 
fession. The oppressed sect showed some faint signs of that 

* There is a remarkable account of the first appearance of the symptoms of 
discontent among the Tories in a letter of Halifax to Chesterfield, written in 
October, 1685. Burnet, i. G84. 


spirit which in the preceding century had bidden defiance to 
the whole power of the House of Valois. Massacres and ex- 
ecutions followed. Dragoons were quartered in the towns 
where the heretics were numerous, and in the country seats of 
the heretic gentry ; and the cruelty and licentiousness of these 
rude missionaries was sanctioned or leniently censured by the 
government. Still, however, the edict of Nantes, though prac- 
tically violated in its most essential provisions, had not been 
formally rescinded ; and the King repeatedly declared in solemn 
public acts that he was resolved to maintain it. But the bigots 
and flatterers who had his ear gave him advice which he was but 
too willing to take. They represented to him that his rigorous 
policy had been eminently successful, that little or no resist- 
ance had been made to his will, that thousands of Hujmenots 
had already been converted, that, if he would take the one de- 
cisive step which yet remained, those who were still obstinate 
would speedily submit, France would be purged from the taint 
of heresy, and her prince would have earned a heavenly crown 
not less glorious than that of Saint Lewis. These arguments 
prevailed. The final blow was struck. The edict of Nantes 
was revoked ; and a crowd of decrees against the sectaries ap- 
peared in rapid succession. Boys and girls were torn from 
their parents and sent to be educated in convents. All Calvinistic 
ministers were commanded either to abjure their religion or to 
quit their country within a fortnight. The other professors of 
the reformed faith were forbidden to leave the kingdom ; and, 
in order to prevent them from making their escape, the out- 
ports and frontiers were strictly guarded. It was thought that 
the nocks, thus separated from the evil shepherds, would soon 
return to the true fold. But in spite of all the vigilance of the 
military police there was a vast emigration. It was calculated 
that, in a few months, fifty thousand families quitted France 
forever. Nor were the refugees such as a country can well 
spare. They were generally persons of intelligent minds, of 
industrious habits, and of austeye morals. In the list are to be 
found names eminent in war, in science, in literature, and in 
art. Some of the exiles offered their swords to William of 


Orange, and distinguished themselves by the fury with which 
they fought against their persecutor. Others avenged them- 
selves with weapons still more formidable, and, by means of 
the* presses of Holland, England, and Germany, inflamed, dur- 
iug thirty years, the public mind of Europe against the French 
government. A more peaceful class erected silk manufactories 
in the eastern suburb of London. One detachment of emi- 
grants taught the Saxons to make the stuffs and hats of which 
France had hitherto enjo}^ed a monopoly. Another planted 
the first vines in the neighbourhood of the Cape of Good 

In ordinary circumstances the courts of Spain and of Rome 
would have eagerly applauded a prince who had made vigorous 
war on heresy. But such was the hatred inspired by the in- 
justice and haughtiness of Lewis that, when he became a per- 
secutor, the courts of Spain and Rome took the side of religious 
liberty, and loudly reprobated the cruelty of turning a savage 
and licentious soldiery loose on an unoffending people. f One 
cry of grief and rage rose from the whole of Protestant 
Europe. The tidings of the revocation of the edict of Nantes 
reached England about a week before the day to which the Par- 
liament stood adjourned. It was clear then that the spirit of 
Gardiner and of Alva was still the spirit of the Roman Cath- 
olic Church. Lewis was not inferior to James in generosity 
and humanity, and was certainly far superior to James in all the 
abilities and acquirements of a statesman. Lewis had, like 
James, repeatedly promised to respect the privileges of his Prot- 
estant subjects. Yet Lewis was now avowedly a persecutor of 
the reformed religion. What reason was there, then, to doubt 
that James waited only for an opportunity to follow the exam- 
ple ? He was already forming, in defiance of the law, a military 

* The contemporary tracts in various languages on the subject of this perse- 
cution are innumerable. An eminently clear, terse, and spirited summary will 
be found in Voltaire's Steele de Louis XIV- 

t "Misionarios embotados," says Ronquillo. "Apostoli armati," says Inno- 
cent. There is, in the Mackintosh Collection, a remarkable letter on this sub- 
ject from Ronquillo, dated 5 1 — 5 1686. See Venier, Relatione di Francia, 1689, 
1 Apr. 5, 

quoted by Professor Ranke in his Rbmischen Papste, book \iii. 


force officered to a great extent by Roman Catholics. Was 
there anything unreasonable in the apprehension that this 
force might be employed to do what the French dragoons had 
done ? 

James was almost as much disturbed as his subjects by the 
conduct of the court of Versailles. In truth, that court had 
acted as if it had meant to embarrass and annoy him. He was 
about to ask from a Protestant legislature a full toleration for 
Roman Catholics. Nothing, therefore, could be more unwel- 
come to him than the intelligence that, in a neighbouring country 
toleration had just been withdrawn by a Roman Catholic gov- 
ernment from Protestants. His vexation was increased by a 
speech which the Bishop of Valence, in the name of the Gal- 
lican clergy, addressed at this time to Lewis the Fourteenth. 
The pious Sovereign of England, the orator said, looked to the 
most Christian King for support against a heretical nation. It 
was remarked that the members of the House of Commons 
showed particular anxiety to procure copies of this harangue, 
and that it was read by all Englishmen with indignation and 
alarm.* James was desirous to counteract the impression which 
these things had made, and was also at that moment by no 
means unwilling to let all Europe see that he was not the slave 
of France. lie therefore declared publicly that he disapproved 
of the manner in which the Huguenots had been treated, grant- 
ed to the exiles some relief from his privy purse, and, by letters 
under his great seal, invited his subjects to imitate his liberality. 
In a very few months it became clear that all this compassion was 
feigned for the purpose of cajoling his Parliament, that he re- 
garded the refugees with mortal hatred, and that he regretted 
nothing so much as his own inability to do what Lewis had 

On the ninth of November the Houses met. The Commons 
were summoned to the bar of the Lords ; and the King spoke 

* " Mi dicono che tutti questi parlamentarii ne harrao voluto copia, il che 
assolutamente avra causate pe,ssirae impressioni." — Adda, Nov. 9-19, 1635. See 
Evelyn's Diary, Nov. 3. 


from the throne. His speech had been composed by himself. 
He congratulated his loving subjects on the suppression of the 
rebellion in the West : but he added that the speed with which 
that rebellion had risen to a formidable height, and the length of 
time during which it had continued to rage, must convince all 
men how little dependence could be placed on the militia. He 
had, therefore, made additions to the regular army. The charge 
of that army would henceforth be more than double of what it 
had been ; and he trusted that the Commons would grant him 
the means of defraying the increased expense. He then inform- 
ed his hearers that he had employed some officers who had not 
taken the test ; but he knew those officers to be fit for public 
trust. He feared that artful men might avail themselves of this 
irregularity to disturb the harmony which existed between him- 
self and his Parliament. But he would speak out. He was 
determined not to part with servants on whose fidelity he could 
rely, and whose help he might perhaps soon need.* 

This explicit declaration that he had broken the laws which 
were regarded by the nation as the chief safeguards of the estab- 
lished religion, and that he was resolved to persist in breaking 
those laws, was not likely to soothe the excited feelings of his sub- 
jects. The Lords, seldom disposed to take the lead in opposition 
to a government, consented to vote him formal thanks for what he 
had said. But the Commons were in a less complying mood. 
"When they had returned to their own House there was a long 
silence ; and the faces of many of the most respectable members 
expressed deep concern. At length Middleton rose and moved 
the House to go instantly into committee on the King's speech : 
but Sir Edmund Jennings, a zealous. Tory from Yorkshire, who 
was supposed to speak the sentiments of Danby, protested against 
this course, and demanded time for consideration. Sir Thomas 
Charges, maternal uncle of the Duke of Albemarle, and long 
distinguished in Parliament as a man of business and a vigilant 
steward of the public money, took the same side. The feeling 

* Lords' Journals, Nov. 9, 1G85. " Vengo assicurato," says Adda, "cheS. M. 
Blesta abbia coinposlo il discorso."— Despatch of Nov. 1G-2G, 1G&5. 


of the House could not be mistaken. Sir John Ernley, Chancel- 
lor of the Exchequer, insisted that the delay should not exceed 
forty-eight hours : but he was overruled ; and it was resolved 
that the discussion should be postponed for three days.* 

The interval was well employed by those who took the lead 
against the Court. They had indeed no light work to perform. 
In three days a country party was to be organised. The dif- 
ficulty of the task is in our age not easily to be appreciated; 
for in our age all the nation assists at every deliberation of the 
Lords and Commons. What is said by the leaders of the 
ministry and of the opposition after midnight is read by the 
whole metropolis at dawn, by the inhabitants of Northumber- 
land and Cornwall in the afternoon, and in Ireland and the 
Highlands of Scotland on the morrow. In our age, therefore, 
the stages of legislation, the rules of debate, the tactics of fac- 
tion, the opinions, temper, and style of every active member of 
either house, are familiar to hundreds of thousands. Every 
man who now enters Parliament possesses what, in the seven- 
teenth century, would have been called a great stock of parlia- 
mentary knowledge. Such knowledge was then to be obtained 
only by actual parliamentary service. The difference between 
an old and a new member was as great as the difference be- 
tween a veteran soldier and a recruit just taken from the 
plough ; and James's Parliament contained a most unusual pro- 
portion of new members, who had brought from their country 
seats to Westminster no political knowledge and many vio- 
lent prejudices. These gentlemen hated the Papists, but hated 
the Whigs not less intensely, and regarded the King with 
superstitious veneration. To form an opposition out of 
such materials was a feat which required the most skil 
ful and delicate management. Some men of great weight 
however, undertook the work, and performed it with success. 

* Commons' Journals ; Bramston's Memoirs ; James Tan Leeuwen to the 
States General, Nov. 10-20, 1685. Van Leeuwen was secretary of the Dutch embassy, 
and conducted the correspondence in the absence of Van Citters. As to Clarges, 
see Burnet, i. 98. 


Several experienced Whig politicians who had not seats in that 
Parliament, gave useful advice and information. On the day 
preceding that which had been fixed for the debate, many meet- 
ings ' were held at which the leaders instructed the novices ; 
and it soon appeared that these exertions had not been thrown 

The foreign embassies were all in a ferment. It was well 
understood that a few days would now decide the great ques- 
tion, whether the King of England was or was not to be the 
vassal of the King of France. The ministers of the House of 
Austria were most anxious that James should give satisfaction 
to his Parliament. Innocent had sent to London two persons 
charged to inculcate moderation, both by admonition and by 
example. One of them was John Leyburn, an English Do- 
minican, who had been secretary to Cardinal Howard, and who, 
with some learning and a rich vein of natural humour, was the 
most cautious, dexterous, and taciturn of men. He had recent- 
ly been consecrated Bishop of Adrumetum, and named Vicar 
Apostolic in Great Britain. Ferdinand, Count of Adda, an 
Italian of no eminent abilities, but of mild temper and courtly 
manners, had been appointed Nuncio. These functionaries 
were eagerly welcomed by James. No Roman Catholic Bishop 
had exercised spiritual functions in the island during more than 
half a century. No Nuncio had been received here during the 
hundred and twenty-seven years which had elapsed since the 
death of Mary. Leyburn was lodged in Whitehall, and received 
a pension of a thousand pounds a year. Adda did not yet 
assume a public character. He passed for a foreigner of rank 
whom curiosity had brought to London, appeared daily at court, 
and was treated with high consideration. Both the Papal 
emissaries did their best to diminish as much as possible, the 
odium inseparable from the offices which they filled, and to 
restrain the rash zeal of James. The Nuncio, in particular, 
declared that nothing could be more injurious to the interest! 

* Barillon, Nov. 16-26, 1685. 


of the Church of Rome than a rupture between the King and 
the Parliament.* 

Barillon was active on the other side. The instructions 
which he received from Versailles on this occasion well deserve 
to be studied ; for they furnish a key to the policy systematically 
pursued by his master towards England during the twenty 
years which preceded our revolution. The advices from 
Madrid, Lewis wrote, were alarming. Strong hopes were en- 
tertained there that James would ally himself closely with the 
House of Austria, as soon as he should be assured that his Par- 
liament would give him no trouble. In these circumstances, it 
was evidently the interest of France that the Parliament should 
prove refractory. Barillon was therefore directed to act, with 
all possible precautions against detection, the part of a make- 
bait. At court he was to omit no opportunity of stimulating 
the religious zeal and the kingly pride of James ; but at the 
same time it might be desirable to have some secret communi- 
cation with the malecontents. Such communication would in- 
deed be hazardous, and would require the utmost adroitness ; 
yet it might perhaps be in the power of the Ambassador, with- 
out committing himself or his government, to animate the zeal 
of the opposition for the laws and liberties of England, and to 
let it be understood that those laws and liberties were not re- 
garded by his master with an unfriendly eye.f 

Lewis, when he dictated these instructions, did not foresee 
how speedily and how completely his uneasiness would be 
removed by the obstinacy and stupidity of James. On the 
twelfth of November the House of Commons resolved itself 
into a committee on the royal speech. The Solicitor General, 

* Dodd's Church History ; VanLeeuwen. Nov. 17-27, 1685 ; Barillon, Dec. 24, 
1685. Barillon says of Adda, " On l'avoit fait prevenir que la surete et l'avant- 
age des Catholiques consistoient dans une reunion entiere de sa Majeste Britan- 

nique et de son parlement." Letters of Innocent to James, dated ■ " - g ' and 
Sept Tj ' 1685 ; Despatches of Adda, Nov. 9-19 and Nov. 16-26, 1685. The very inter- 
esting correspondence of Adda, copied from the Papal archives, is in the British 

t This most remarkable despatch hears date the 9-19th of November 1685, and 
will be found in the Appendix to Mr. Fox's History 


Heneage Finch, was in the chair. The debate was conducted 
by the chiefs of the new country party with rare tact and 
address. No expression indicating disrespect to the Sovereign 
or sympathy for rebels was suffered to escape. The Western 
insurrection was always mentioned with abhorrence. Nothing 
was said of the barbarities of Kirke and Jeffreys. It was 
admitted that the heavy expenditure which had been occasioned 
by the late troubles justified the King in asking some further 
supply: but strong objections were made to the augmentation 
of the army and to the infraction of the Test Act. 

The subject of the Test Act the courtiers appear to have 
carefully avoided. They harangued, however, with some force 
on the great superiority of a regular army to a militia. One of 
them tauntingly asked whether the defence of the kingdom was 
to be entrusted to the beefeaters. Another*' said that he should 
be glad to know how the Devonshire trainbands, who had fled 
in confusion before Monmouth's scythemen, would have faced 
the household troops of Lewis. But these arguments had little 
effect on Cavaliers who still remembered with bitterness the 
stern rule of the Protector. The general feeling was forcibly 
expressed by the first of the Tory country gentlemen of Eng- 
land, Edward Seymour. He admitted that the militia was not 
in a satisfactory state, but maintained that it might be remod- 
elled. The remodelling might require money ; but, for his own 
part, he would rather give a million to keep up a force from 
which he had nothing to fear, than half a million to keep up a 
force of which he must ever be afraid. Let the trainbands be 
disciplined ; let the navy be strengthened ; and the country 
would be secure. A standing army was at best a mere drain 
on the public resources. The soldier was withdrawn from all 
useful labour. Pie produced nothing : he consumed the fruits 
of the industry of other men ; and he domineered over those 
by whom he was supported. But the nation was now threat- 
ened, not only with a standing army, but with a Popish standing 
army, with a standing army officered by men who might be 
very amiable and honourable, but who were on principle enemies 
to the constitution of the realm. Sir William Twisden, mem- 


her for the county of Kent, spoke on the same side with great 
keenness and loud applause. Sir Richard Temple, one of the 
few Whigs who had a seat in that Parliament, dexterously ac- 
commodating his speech to the temper of his audience, reminded 
the House that a standing army had been found, by experience, 
to be as dangerous to the just authority of princes as to the 
liberty of nations. Sir John Maynard, the most learned law- 
yer of his time, took part in the debate. He was now more 
than eighty years old, and could well remember the political 
contests of the reign of James the First. He had sate in the 
Long Parliament, and had taken part with the Roundheads, 
but had always been for lenient counsels, and had laboured to 
bring about a general reconciliation. His abilities, which age 
had not impaired, and his professional knowledge, which had 
long overawed all Westminster Hall, commanded the ear of 
the House of Commons. He, too, declared himself against the 
augmentation of the regular forces. 

After much debate it was resolved that a supply should be 
granted to the Crown ; but it was also resolved that a bill 
should be brought in for making the militia more efficient. 
This last resolution was tantamount t) a declaration against the 
standing army. The King was greatly displeased ; and it was 
whispered that, if things went on thus, the session would not be 
of Ions* duration.* 

On the morrow the contention was renewed. The language 
of the country party was perceptibly bolder and sharper than 
on the preceding day. That paragraph of the King's speech 
which related to supply preceded the paragraph which related 

* Commons' Journals, Nov. 12, 1685 ; Van Leeuwen, Nov. 13-23 ; Barillon, Nov. 
16-2G ; Sir John Bramston's Memoirs. The best report of the debates of the Com- 
mons in November 1685, is one of which the history is somewhat curious. There 
are two manuscript copies of it in the British Museum, Harl. 7187 ; Lans. 253- 
In these copies the names of the speakers are given at length. The author of the 
Life of James published in 1702 transcribed this report, but gave only the initials 
of the speakers. The editors of Chandler's Debates and of the Parliamentary 
History guessed from these initials at the names, and sometimes guessed wrong. 
They ascribe to Waller a very remarkable speech, which will hereafter be men- 
tioned, and which was really made by Windham, member for Salisbury. It was 
with some concern that I found myself forced to give up the belief that the last 
words uttered in public by Waller were so honourable to him. 

V. II.— 3 


to the test. On this ground Middleton proposed that the para- 
graph relating to supply should be first considered in committee. 
The opposition moved the previous question. They contended 
that the reasonable and constitutional practice was to grant no 
money till grievances had been redressed, and that there would 
be an end of this practice if the House thought itself bound ser- 
vilely to follow the order in which matters were mentioned 
by the King from the throne. 

The division was taken on the question whether Middleton's 
motion should be put. The Noes were ordered by the Speaker 
to go forth into the lobby. They resented this much, and com- 
plained loudly of his servility and partiality : for they conceived 
that, according to the intricate and subtle rule which was then 
in force, and which, in our time, was superseded by a more 
rational and convenient practice, they were entitled to keep 
their seats ; and it was held by all the parliamentary tacticians 
of that age that the party which stayed in the House had an ad- 
vantage over the party which went out ; for the accommodation 
on the benches was so deficient that no person who had been 
fortunate enough to get a good seat was willing to lose it. 
Nevertheless, to the dismay of the ministers, many persons on 
whose votes the Court had absolutely depended were seen mov- 
ing towards the door. Among them was Charles Fox, Pay- 
master of the Forces, and son of Sir Stephen Fox, Clerk of 
the Green Cloth. The Paymaster had been induced by his 
friends to absent himself during part of the discussion. But 
his anxiety had become insupportable. He came down to the 
Speaker's chamber, heard part of the debate, withdrew, and, 
after hesitating for an hour or two between conscience and five 
thousand pounds a year, took a manly resolution and rushed 
into the House just in time to vote. Two officers of the army, 
Colonel John Darcy, son of the Lord Conyers, and Captain 
James Kendall, withdrew to the lobby. Middleton went down 
to the bar and expostulated with them. He particularly ad- 
dressed himself to Kendall, a needy retainer of the Court, who 
had, in obedience to the royal mandate, been sent to Parlia- 
ment by a packed corporation in Cornwall, and who had recently 


obtained a grant of a hundred head of rebels sentenced to 
transportation. " Sir," said Middleton, " have not you a troop 
of horse in His Majesty's service ? " " Yes, my Lord," an- 
swered Kendall : " but my elder brother is just dead, and has 
left me seven hundred a year." 

When the tellers had done their office it appeared that the 
Ayes were one hundred and eighty-two, and the Noes one 
hundred and eighty-three. In that House of Commons which 
had been brought together by the unscrupulous use of chicanery, 
of corruption, and of violence, in that House of Commons of 
which James had said that more than eleven twelfths of the 
members were such as he would himself have nominated, the 
Court had sustained a defeat on a vital question.* 

In consequence of this vote the expressions which the King 
had used respecting the test were taken into consideration. It 
was resolved, after much discussion, that an address should be 
presented to him, reminding him that he could not legally con- 
tinue to employ officers who refused to qualify, and pressing 
him to give such directions as might quiet the apprehensions 
and jealousies of his people.f 

A motion was then made that the Lords should be requested 
to join in the address. Whether this motion was honestly 
made by the opposition, in the hope that the concurrence of the 
peers would add weight to the remonstrance, or artfully made 
by the courtiers, in the hope that a breach between the Houses 
might be the consequence, it is now impossible to discover. 
The proposition was rejected. $ 

* Commons' Journals, Nov. 13, 1685 : Bramston's Memoirs ; Reresby's Me- 
moirs ; Barillon,Nov. 1G-2G ; Van Leeuwen, Nov. 13-23 ; Memoirs of Sir Stephen 
Fox, 1717 ; The Case of the Church of England fairly stated ; Burnet, i. 666, 
and Speaker Onslow's note. 

t Commons' Journals, Nov. 13, 1685 ; Harl. MS. 7187 ; Lansdowne MS. 253. 

% The conflict of testimony on this subject is most extraordinary ; and, after 
long consideration, I must own that the balance seems to me to be exactly poised. 
In the Life of James (1702), the motion is represented as a court motion. This 
account is confirmed by a remarkable passage in the Stuart Papers, which was 
corrected by the pretender himself. (Life of James the Second, ii. 55.) On the 
other hand, Reresby, who was present, and Barillon, who ought to have been 
well informed, represent the motion as an opposition motion. The Harleian and 
Lansdowne manuscripts differ in the single word on which the whole depends. 
Unfortunately Brainston was not at the House that day. James Van Leeuwen 


The House then resolved itself into a committee, for the 
purpose of considering the amount of supply to be granted. 
The King wanted fourteen hundred thousand pounds : but the 
ministers saw that it would be vain to ask for so large a sum. 
The Chancellor of the Exchequer mentioned twelve hundred 
thousand pounds. The chiefs of the opposition replied that to 
vote for such a grant would be to vote for the permanence of 
the present military establishment : they were disposed to give 
only so much as might suffice to keep the regular troops on foot 
till the militia could be remodelled ; and they therefore pro- 
posed four hundred thousand pounds. The courtiers exclaimed 
against this motion as unworthy of the House and disrespectful 
to the King : but they were manfully encountered. One of the 
Western members, John Windham, who sate for Salisbury, es- 
pecially distinguished himself. He had always, he said, looked 
with dread and aversion on standing armies ; and recent expe- 
rience had strengthened those feelings. He then ventured to 
touch on a theme which had hitherto been studiously avoided. 
He described the desolation of the Western counties. The 
people, he said, were weary of the oppression of the troops, weary 
of free quarters, of depredations, of still fouler crimes which the 
law called felonies, but for which, when perpetrated by this 
class of felons, no redress could be obtained. The King's ser- 
vants had indeed told the House that excellent rules had been 
laid down for the government of the army ; but none could 
venture to say that these rules had been observed. What, then, 
was the inevitable inference ? Did not the contrast between the 
paternal injunctions issued from the throne and the insupport- 
able tyranny of the soldiers prove that the army was even now 
too strong for the prince as well as for the people ? The Commons 
might surely, with perfect consistency, while they reposed entire 
confidence in the intentions of His Majesty, refuse to make any 

mentions the motion and the division, but does not add a word which can throw 
the smallest light on the state of parties. I must own myself unable to draw with 
confidence any inference from the names of the tellers, Sir Joseph Williamson 
and Sir Francis Russell for the majority, and Lord Ancram and Sir Henry Good- 
ricke for the minority. I should have thought Lord Ancram likely to go with 
the court, and Sir Henry Qoodricke likely to go with the opposition. 


addition to a force which it was clear that His Majesty could 
not manage. 

The motion that the sum to be granted should not exceed 
four hundred thousand pounds, was lost by twelve votes. This 
victory of the ministers was little better than a defeat. The 
leaders of the country party, nothing disheartened, retreated a 
little, made another stand, and proposed the sum of seven hun- 
dred thousand pounds. The committee divided again, and the 
courtiers were beaten by two hundred and twelve votes to one 
hundred and seventy.* 

On the following day the Commons went in procession to 
Whitehall with their address on the subject of the test. The 
King received them on his throne. The address was drawn up 
in respectful and affectionate language ; for the great majority 
of those who had voted for it were zealously and even supersti- 
tiously loyal, and had readily agreed to insert some compliment- 
ary phrases, and to omit every word which the courtiers thought 
offensive. The answer of %ames was a cold and sullen repri- 
mand. He declared himself greatly displeased and amazed that 
the Commons should have profited so little by the admonition 
which, he had given them. "But," said he, " however you may 
proceed on your part, I will be very steady in all the promises 
which I have made to you."f 

The Commons reassembled in their chamber, discontented, 
yet somewhat overawed. To most of them the King was still 
an object of filial reverence. Three more years filled with bitter 
injuries, and with not less bitter insults, were scarcely sufficient 
to dissolve the ties which bound the Cavalier gentry to the 

The Speaker repeated the substance of the King's reply. 
There was, for some time, a solemn stillness : then the order of 
the day was read in regular course ; and the House went into 
committee on the bill for remodelling the militia. 

In a few hours, however, the spirit of the opposition revived. 
When, at the close of the day, the speaker resumed the chair, 

* Commons' Journals, Nov. 10, rn85 ; Harl. MS. 7187 ; Lansdowne MS. 235. 
t CommonB' Journals, Nov. 17, 18, 1G85 


Wharton, the boldest and most active of the Whigs, proposed 
that a time should be appointed for taking His Majesty's an- 
swer into consideration. John Coke, member for Derby, though 
a noted Tory, seconded Wharton. " I hope," he said, " that 
we are all Englishmen, and that we shall not be frightened from 
our duty by a few high words.'' 

It was manfully, but not wisely, spoken. The whole House 
was in a tempest. " Take down his words," " To the bar," 
" To the Tower," resounded from every side. Those who were 
most lenient proposed that the offender should be reprimanded : 
but the ministers vehemently insisted that he should be sent to 
prison. The House might pardon, they said, offences committed 
•against itself, but had no right to pardon an insult offered 
to the Crown. Coke was sent to the Tower. The indis- 
cretion of one man had deranged the whole system of tactics 
which had been so ably concerted by the chiefs of the opposi- 
tion. It was in vain that, at that moment, Edward Seymour 
attempted to rally his followers, e^iorted them to. fix a day for 
discussing the King's answer, and expressed his confidence that 
the discussion would be conducted with the respect due from sub- 
jects to the sovereign. The members were so much cowed by 
the royal displeasure, and so much incensed by the rudeness of 
Coke, that it would not have been safe to divide.* 

The House adjourned; and the ministers flattered them- 
selves that the spirit of opposition was quelled. But on the 
morrow, the nineteenth of November, new and alarming symp- 
toms appeared. The time had arrived for taking into consider- 
ation the petitions which had been presented from all parts of 
England against the late elections. When, on the first meeting 
of the Parliament, Seymour had complained of the force and 
fraud by which the government had prevented the sense of con- 
stituent bodies from being fairly taken, he had found no sec- 
onder. But many who had then flinched from his side had sub- 
sequently taken heart, and, with Sir John Lowther, member for 
Cumberland, at their head, had, before the recess, suggested 

* Commons' Journals, Nov. 18, 1G85; Harl. MS. 71S7 ; Lansdowne MS. 253 j 
Burnet, i. CC7. 


that there ought to be an enquiry into the abuses which had so 
much excited the public mind. The House was now in a much 
more angry temper ; and many voices were boldly raised in 
menace and accusation. The ministers were told that the nation 
expected, and should have, signal redress. Meanwhile it was 
dexterously intimated that the best atonement which a gentle- 
man who had been brought into the House by irregular means 
could make to the public was to use his ill acquired power in 
defence of the religion and liberties of his country. No mem- 
ber, who, in that crisis, did his duty, had anything to fear. It 
might be necessary to unseat him ; but the whole influence of 
the opposition should be employed to procure his re-election. * 

On the same day it became clear that the spirit of opposition 
had spread from the Commons to the Lords, and even to the 
episcopal bench. William Cavendish, Earl of Devonshire, took 
the lead in the Upper House ; and he was well qualified to do 
so. In wealth and influence he was second to none of the English 
nobles ; and the general voice designated him as the finest gentle- 
man of his time. His magnificence, his taste, his talents, his 
classical learning, his high spirit, the grace and urbanity of his 
manners, were admitted by his enemies. His eulogists, unhap- 
pily, could not pretend that his morals had escaped untainted 
from the widespread contagion of that age. Though an enemy 
of Popery and of arbitrary power, he had been averse to extreme 
courses, had been willing, when the Exclusion Bill was lost, to 
agree to a compromise, and had never been concerned in the ille- 
gal and imprudent schemes which had brought discredit on the 
Whig party. But, while blaming part of the conduct of his 
friends, he had not failed to perform zealously the most arduous 
and perilous duties of friendship. He had stood near Russell 
at the bar, had parted from him on the sad morning of the exe- 
cution with close embraces and with many bitter tears, nay, had 

* Lonsdale's Memoirs. Burnet tells us (i. GOT) that a sharp debate about 
elections took place in the House of Commons after Coke's committal. It must 
therefore have been on the 10th of November ; for Coke was committed late on. 
the 18th, and the Parliament was prorogued on the 20th. Burnet's narrative is 
confirmed by the Journals, from which it appears that several elections were 
under discussion on the 10th. 


offered to manage an escape at the hazard of his own life.* 
This great nobleman now proposed that a day should be fixed 
for considering the royal speech. It was contended, on the 
other side ; that the Lords, by voting thanks for the speech, had 
precluded themselves from complaining of it. But this objec- 
tion was treated with contempt by Halifax. " Such thanks," 
he said with the sarcastic pleasantry in which he excelled, 
" imply no approbation. \Ve are thankful whenever our 
gracious Sovereign deigns to speak to us. Especially thankful 
are we when, as on the present occasion, he speaks out, and 
gives us fair warning of what we are to suffer."! Doctor Henry 
Compton, Bishop of London, spoke strongly for the motion. 
Though not gifted with eminent abilities, nor deeply versed in 
the learning of his profession, he was always heard by the 
House with respect ; for he was one of the few clergymen who 
could, in that age, boast of noble blood. His own loyal t}-, and 
the loyalty of his family, had been signally proved. His father, 
the second Earl of Northampton, had fought bravely for King 
Charles the First, and, surrounded by the parliamentary soldiers, 
had fallen, sword in hand, refusing to give or take quarter. 
The Bishop himself, before he was ordained, had borne arms in 
the Guards ; and, though he generally did his best to preserve 
the gravity and sobriety befitting a prelate, some flashes of his 
military spirit would, to the last, occasionally break forth. He 
had been entrusted with the religious education of the two 
Princesses, and had acquitted himself of that important duty in 
a manner which had satisfied all good Protestants, and had 
secured to him considerable influence over the minds of his 
pupils, especially of the Lady Anne.J He now declared that 
lie was empowered to speak the sense of his brethren, and that 

* Burnet, i. 560 ; Funeral Sermon of the Duke of Devonshire, preached by 
Kennet, 1708 ; Travels of Cosmo III. in England ; The Hazard of a Death-bed 

'Repentance argued from the Remorse of Conscience of W x late D of 

D , when dying, a most absurd pamphlet by John Dunton which reached a 

tenth edition. 

t Bramston's Memoirs. Burnet is incorrect both as to the time when the 
remark was made and as to the person who made it. Tn Halifax's Letter to a 
Pi?senter will be found a remarkable allusion to this discussion. 

X Wood, Ath. Ox. ; Gooeh's Funeral Sermon on Bishop Compton. 


in their opinion and in his own, the whole civil and ecclesiastical 
constitution of the realm was in danger. 

One of the most remarkable speeches of that day was made 
by a young man, whose eccentric career was destined to amaze 
Europe. This was Charles Mordaunt, Viscount Mordaunt, 
widely renowned, many years later, as Earl of Peterborough. 
Already he had given abundant proofs of his courage, of his 
capacity, and of that strange unsoundness of mind which made 
his courage andcapacity'almost useless to his country. Already 
he had distinguished himself as a wit and a scholar, as a 
soldier and a sailor. He had even set his heart on rivalling 
Bourdaloue and Bossuet. Though an avowed freethinker, he 
had sate up all night at sea to compose sermons, and had with 
great difficulty been prevented from edifying the crew of a man 
of war with his pious oratory.* lie now addressed the House 
of Peers, for the first time, with characteristic eloquence spriglit- 
liness, and audacity. He blamed the Commons for not having 
taken a bolder line. " They have been afraid," he said, " to 
speak out. They have talked of apprehensions and jealousies. 
What have apprehension and jealousy to do here ? Apprehen- 
sion and jealousy are the feelings with which we regard future 
and uncertain evils. The evil which we are considering is 
neither future nor uncertain. A standing army exists. It is 
officered by Papists. We have no foreign enemy. There is no 
rebellion in the land. For what, then, is this force maintained, 
except for the purpose of subverting our laws, and establishing 
that arbitrary power which is so justly abhorred by English- 
men." f 

Jeffreys spoke against the motion in the coarse and savage 

* Teonge's Diary. 

t Barillon has given the best account of this debate. I will extract his report 
of Mordaunt's speech. '< Milord Mordaunt, quoique jeune, parla avec eloquence 
et force. II dit que la question n'etoit pas reduite, comme la Chambre des Com- 
munes le pretendoit a guerir des jalousies et defiances, qui avoieut lieu dans les 
choses iucertaines ; mais que ce qui se passoit ne l'etoit pas, qu'il y avoit une 
armee sur pied qui subsistoit, et qui etoit remplie d'officiers Catholiques, qui ne 
pouvoit etre eonservee que pour le renversenient des loix, et que la subsist ance 
de l'ar.nee, quand il n'y a aucune guerre ni au dedans ni an dehors, etoit l'etab- 
lissement du gouvernement arbitraire, pour lequel les Anglois ont une aversion 
si bien fondee." 


style of which lie was a master ; but he soon found that it was 
not quite so easy to browbeat the proud and powerful barons of 
England in their own hall as to intimidate advocates whose 
bread depended on his favour or prisoners whose necks were at 
his mercy. A man whose life has been passed in attacking and 
domineering, whatever may be his talents and courage, gener- 
ally makes a poor figure when he is vigorously assailed : for, 
being unaccustomed to stand on the defensive, he becomes con- 
fused ; and the knowledge that all those whom he has insulted 
are enjoying his confusion confuses him still more. Jeffreys 
was now, for the first time since he had become a great man, 
encountered on equal terms by adversaries who did not fear 
him. To the general delight, he passed at once from the ex- 
treme of insolence to the extreme of meanness, and could not 
refrain from weeping with rage and vexation. * Nothing indeed 
was wanting to his humiliation ; for the House was crowded by 
about a hundred peers, a larger number than had voted even on the 
great day of the Exclusion Bill. The King, too, was present. 
His brother had been in the habit of attending the sittings of 
the Lords for amusement, and used often to say that a debate 
was as entertaining as a comedy. James came, not to be divert- 
ed, but in the hope that his presence might impose some 
restraint on the discussion. He was disappointed. The sense of the 
House was so strongly manifested that, after a closing speech, of 
great keenness, from Halifax, the courtiers did not venture to 
divide. An early day was fixed for taking the royal speech into 
consideration ; and it was ordered that every peer who was in or 
near the capital should be in his place. f 

* He was very easily moved to tear?. " He could not," says the author of the 
Panegyric, " refrain from weeping on bold affronts." And again : " They talk 
of his hectoring and proud carriage ; what could he more humble than for a man 
in his great post to cry and sob?" In the Answer to the Panegyric it is said that 
" his having no command of his tears spoiled him for a hypocrite." 

t Lord's Journals, Nov. 19, 1G85- Barillon, *'"'' 2 } ; Dutch Despatch, Nov. 20-30; 

Luttrell's Diary, Nov. 10 ; Burnet, i. 665. The closing speech of Halifax is men- 
tioned by the Nuncio in his despatch of Nov. 16-213. Adda, about a month later, 
bears strong testimony to Halifax's powers. " Da questo uomo che hasgran 
credito nel parlamento, e grande eloquenza, non si possono attendere che here 
contradizioni, e nel partito Kegio non vi e un uomo da contrapporsi." Dec. 21-31, 


On the following morning the King came down, in his robes, 
tcr the House of Lords. The Usher of the Black Rod summon- 
ed the Commons to the bar ; and the Chancellor announced 
that the Parliament was prorogued to the temh of February.* 
Thft members who had voted against the Court were dismissed 
from the public service. Charles Fox quitted the Pay Office ; 
the Bishop of London ceased to be Dean of the Chapel Royal ; 
an<t his name was struck out of the list of Privy Councillors. 

The effect of the prorogation was to put an end to a legal 
pr">ceedmg of the highest importance. Thomas Grey, Earl of 
Stamford, sprung from one of the most illustrious houses of Eng- 
land, had been recently arrested and committed close prisoner 
to the Tower on a charge of high treason. Pie was accused of 
having been concerned in the Rye House plot. A true bill had 
been found against him by the grand jury of the City of London, 
and had been removed into the House of Lords, the only court 
before which a temporal peer can, during a session of Par- 
liament, be arraigned for any offence higher than a misde- 
meanour. The first of December had been fixed for the trial ; 
and orders had been given that Westminster Hall should be fit- 
ted up with seats and hangings. In consequence of the proro- 
gation, the hearing of the cause was postponed for an indefinite 
period ; and Stamford soon regained his liberty. f 

Three other Whigs of great eminence were in confinement 
when the session closed, Charles Gerard, Lord Gerard of Bran- 
don, eldest son of the Earl of Macclesfield, John Hampden, 
grandson of the renowned leader of the long Parliament, and 
Henry Booth, Lord Delamere. Gerard and Hampden were 
accused of having taken part in the Rye House plot, Delamere 
of having abetted the Western insurrection. 

It was not the intention of the government to put either 
Gerard or Hampden to death. Grey had stipulated for their 
lives before he consented to become a witness against them.$ 
But there was a still stronger reason for sparing them. They 

* Lords' and Commons' Journals, Nov. 20, 1685. 
■f Lord's Journals, Nov. 11, 17, 18, 1685. • 
t Bumet, i. 646. 


were heirs to large property : but their fathers were still living. 
The Court could therefore get little in the way of forfeiture, and 
might get much in the way of ransom. Gerard was tried, and, 
from the very scanty accounts which have come down to us, 
seems to have defended himself with great spirit and force. lie 
boasted of the exertions and sacrifices made by his family in the 
cause of Charles the First, and proved Rumsey, the witness who 
had murdered Russell by telling one story and Cornish by tell- 
ing another, to be utterly undeserving of credit. The jury, with 
some hesitation, found a verdict of Guilty. After long imprison- 
ment Gerard was suffered to redeem himself.* Hampden had 
inherited the political opinions and a large share of the abilities 
of his grandfather, but had degenerated from the uprightness 
and the courage by which his grandfather had been distinguished. 
It appears that the prisoner was, with cruel cunning, long kept 
in an agony of suspense, in order that his family might be in- 
duced to pay largely for mercy. His spirit sank under the ter- 
rors of death. When brought to the bar of the Old Bailev, he 
not only pleaded guilty, but disgraced the illustrious name 
which he bore by abject submissions and entreaties. He pro- 
tested that he had not been privy to the design of assassination ; 
but he owned that he had meditated rebellion, professed deep re- 
pentance for his offence, implored the intercession of the Judges, 
and vowed that, if the royal clemency were extended to him his 
whole life should be passed in evincing his gratitude for such 
goodness. The Whigs were furious at his pusillanimity, and 
loudly declared him to be far more deserving of blame than 
Grey, who, even in turning King's evidence, had preserved a 
certain decorum. Hampden's life was spared ; but his family 
oaid several thousand pounds to the Chancellor. Some court- 
iers of less note succeeded in extorting smaller sums. The un- 
happy man had spirit enough to feel keenly the degradation to 
which he had stooped. lie survived the day of his ignominy 
several years. lie lived to see his party triumphant, to be 
once more an important member of it, and to make his persecu- 
tors tremble in thejr turn. But his prosperity was embittered 
* Bramston's Memoirs ; Luttrell's Diary. 


by one insupportable recollection. He never regained his 
cheerfulness, and at length died by his own hand. # 

That Delamere, if he had needed the royal mercy, would 
have found it, is not very probable. It is certain that every 
advantage which the letter of the law gave to the government 
was used against him without scruple or shame. He was in a 
different situation from that in which Stamford stood. The 
indictment against Stamford had been removed into the House 
of Lords during the session of Parliament, and therefore could 
not be prosecuted till the Parliament should reassemble. All 
the peers would then have voices, and would be judges as well 
of law as of fact. But the bill against Delamere was not found 
till after the prorogation. f He was therefore within the juris- 
diction of the Court to which belongs, during a recess of Parli- 
ament, the cognisance of treasons and felonies committed by 
temporal peers ; and this Court was then so constituted that no 
prisoner charged with a political offence could expect an im- 
partial trial. The King named a Lord High Steward. The 
Lord High Steward named, at his discretion, certain peers to sit 
on their accused brother. The number to be summoned was 
indefinite. No challenge was allowed. A simple majority, 
provided that it consisted of twelve, wa sufficient to convict. 
The High Steward was sole judge of the law ; and the Lords 
Triers formed merely a jury to pronounce on the question of 
fact. Jeffreys was appointed High Steward. He selected 
thirty Triers ; and the selection was characteristic of the man 
and of the times. All the thirty were in politics vehemently 
opposed to the prisoner. Fifteen of them were colonels of regi- 
ments, and might be removed from their lucrative commands at 
the pleasure of the King. Among the remaining fifteen were 
the Lord Treasurer, the principal Secretary of State, the Stew- 
ard of the Household, the Comptroller of the Household, the 
Captain of the Band of Gentlemen Pensioners, the Queen's 
Chamberlain, and other persons who were bound by strong ties 

* See the trial in the Collection of State Trials ; Bramston's Memoirs ; Burnet, 
i. 647 ; Lords' Journals, Dec. 20, 1C89. 
t Lords' Journals, Nov. 9, 10. 16, 1685. 


of interest to the government. Nevertheless, Delamere had 
some great advantages over the humbler culprits who had been 
arraigned at the Old Bailey. There the jurymen, violent par- 
tisans, taken for a single day by courtly Sheriffs from the mass 
of society and speedily sent back to mingle with that mass, 
were under no restraint of shame, and being little accustomed 
to weigh evidence, followed without scruple the directions of 
the bench. But in the High Steward's Court every Trier was 
a man of some experience in grave affairs. Every Trier filled 
a considerable space in the public eye. Every Trier, beginning 
from the lowest, had to rise separately and to give in hi3 ver- 
dict, on his honour, before a great concourse. That verdict, 
accompanied with his name, would go to every part of the 
world, and would live in history. Moreover, though the selected 
nobles were all Tories, and almost all placemen, many of them 
had begun to look with uneasiness on the King's proceedings, 
and to doubt whether the case of Delamere mi^ht not soon be 
their own. 

Jeffreys conducted himself, as was his wont, insolently and 
unjustly. He had indeed an old grudge to stimulate his zeal. 
He had been Chief Justice of Chester when Delamere, then Mr. 
Booth, represented that county in Parliament. Booth had 
bitterly complained to the Commons that the dearest interests 
of his constituents were intrusted to a drunken jack-pudding.* 
The revengeful judge was now not ashamed to resort to artifices 
which even in an advocate would have been culpable. He re- 
minded the Lords Triers, in very significant language, that Dela- 
mere had, in Parliament, objected to the bill for attainting Mon- 
mouth, a fact which was not, and could not be, in evidence. But 
it was not in the power of Jeffreys to overawe a synod of peers 
as he had been in the habit of overawing common juries. The 
evidence for the crown would probably have been thought amply 
sufficient on the Western Circuit, or at the City Sessions, but 
could not for a moment impose on such men as Rochester, 
Godolphin, and Churchill ; nor were they, with all their faults, 
depraved enough to condemn a fellow creature to death against 
* Speech on the Corruption of the Judges in Lord Delaniere'9 works, 1694. 


the plainest rules of justice. Grey, Wade, and Goodenough 
were produced, but could only repeat what they had heard said 
by Monmouth and by Wildman's emissaries. The principal wit- 
ness for the prosecution, a miscreant named Saxton, who had 
been concerned in the rebellion, and who was now labouring to 
earn his pardon by swearing against all who were obnoxious to 
the government, was proved by overwhelming evidence to have 
told a series of falsehoods. All the Triers, from Churchill, 
who, as junior baron, spoke first, up to the treasurer, pronounced, 
on their honour, that Delamere was not guilty. The gravity 
and pomp of the whole proceeding made a deep impression even 
on the Nuncio, accustomed as he was to the ceremonies of 
Rome, ceremonies which, in solemnity and splendour, exceed 
all that the rest of the world can show.* The King, who was 
present, and was unable to complain of a decision evidently 
just, went into a rage with Saxton, and vowed that the wretch 
should first be pilloried before Westminster Hall for perjury, 
and then sent down to the West to be hanged, drawn, and quar- 
tered for treason. f 

The public joy at the acquittal of Delamere was great. The 
reign of terror was over. The innocent began to breathe freely, 
and false accusers to tremble. One letter written on this occa- 
sion is scarcely to be read without tears. The widow of Russell, 
in her retirement, learned the good news with mingled feelings. 
" I do bless God," she wrote, " that he has caused some stop to 
be put to the shedding of blood in this poor land. Yet when I 
should rejoice with them that do rejoice, I seek a corner to weep 
in. I find I am capable of no more gladness ; but every new 
circumstance, the very comparing my night of sorrow, after such 
a day, with theirs of joy, does, from a reflection of one kind or 
another, rack my uneasy mind. Though I am far from wishing 
the close of theirs like mine, yet I cannot refrain giving some 
time to lament mine was not like theirs." $ 

* "Fu una funzione piena di gravita, di orcline, e di gran speciosita." — Adda, 
Jan. 15-25, 1G8G. 

t The Trial i3 in the collection of State Trials. Van Leeuwen, Jan. 15-25, 19-29, 

X Lady Russell to Dr. Fitzwilliam, Jan. 1686. 


And now the tide was on the turn. The death of Stafford, 
witnessed with signs of tenderness and remorse by the populace 
to whose rage lie was sacrificed, marks the close of one proscrip- 
tion. The acquittal of Delamere marks the close of another. 
The crimes which had disgraced the stormy tribuneship of 
Shaftesbury had been fearfully expiated. The blood of inno- 
cent Papists had been avenged more than tenfold by the blood of 
zealous Protestants. Another great reaction had commenced. 
Factions were fast taking new forms. Old allies were separat- 
ing. Old enemies were uniting. Discontent was spreading fast 
through all the ranks of the party lately dominant. A hope, 
still indeed faint and indefinite, of victory and revenge, animated 
the party which had lately seemed to be extinct. With such 
omens the eventful and troubled year 1685 terminated, and the 
year 1G86 began. 

The prorogation had relieved the King from the gentle re- 
monstrances of the Houses : but he had still to listen to remon- 
strances, similar in substance, though uttered in a tone even more 
cautious and subdued. Some men, who had hitherto served him 
but too strenuously for their own fame and for the public welfare, 
had begun to feel painful misgivings, and occasionally ventured 
to hint a small part of what they felt. 

During many years the zeal of the English Tory for hered- 
itary monarchy and his zeal for the established religion had 
grown up together and had strengthened each other. It had 
never occurred to him that the two sentiments, which seemed 
inseparable and even identical, might one day be found to be 
not only distinct but incompatible. From the commencement 
of the strife between the Stuarts and the Commons, the cause 
of the Crown and the cause of the hierarchy had, to all appear- 
ance, been one. Charles the First was regarded by the Church 
as her own martyr. If Charles the Second had plotted against 
her, he had plotted in secret. In public he had ever professed 
himself her grateful and devoted son, had knelt at her altars, 
and in spite of his loose morals, had succeeded in persuading the 
great body of her adherents that he felt a sincere preference 
for her. Whatever conflicts, therefore, the honest Cavalier 


misdit have had to maintain against Whirrs and Roundheads, 
he had at least been hitherto undisturbed by conflict in his own 
mind. He had seen the path of duty plain before him. Through 
good and evil he was to be true to Church and King. But, if those 
two august and venerable powers, which had hitherto seemed to 
be so closely connected that those who were true to one could 
not be false to the other, should be divided by a deadly enmity, 
what course was the orthodox Royalist to take ? What situa- 
tion could be more trying than that of a man distracted between 
two duties equally sacred, between two affections equally ardent ? 
How would it be possible to give to Ccesar all that was Caesar's, and 
yet to withhold from God no part of what was God's ? None 
who felt thus could have watched, without deep concern and 
gloomy forebodings, the dispute between the King and the Par- 
liament on the subject of the test. If James could even now 
be induced to reconsider his course, to let the Houses reassemble, 
and to comply with their wishes, all might yet be well. 

Such were the sentiments of the King's two kinsmen, the 
Earls of Clarendon and Rochester. The power and favour of these 
noblemen seemed to be great indeed. The younger brother 
was Lord Treasurer and prime minister ; and the elder, after 
holding the Privy Seal during some months, had been ap- 
pointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The venerable Ormond 
took the same side. Middleton and Preston, who, as managers 
of the House of Commons, had recently learned by proof how 
dear the established religion was to the loyal gentry of Eng- 
land, were also for moderate counsels. 

At the very beginning of the new year these statesmen and 
the great party which they represented had to suffer a cruel 
mortification. That the late King had been at heart a Roman 
Catholic had been, during some months, suspected and whis- 
pered, but not formally announced. The disclosure indeed, 
could not be made without great scandal. Charles had, times 
without number, declared himself a Protestant, and had been in 
the habit of receiving the Eucharist from the Bishops. Those 
Churchmen who had stood by him in his difficulties, and who 
still cherished an affectionate remembrance of him, must be 
Vol. II.— 4 


filled with shame and indignation by learning that his whole 
life had been a lie, that, while he professed to belong to their 
communion, he had really regarded them as heretics, and that 
the demagogues who had represented him as a concealed Papist 
had been the only people who had formed a correct judgment 
of his character. Even Lewis understood enough of the state 
of public feeling in England to be aware that the divulging of 
the truth might do harm, and had, of his own accord, promised 
to keep the conversion of Charles strictly secret.* James, 
while his power was still new, had thought that on this point it 
was advisable to be cautious, and had not ventured to inter his 
brother with the rites of the Church of Rome. For a time, 
therefore, every man was at liberty to believe what he wished. 
The Papists claimed the deceased prince as their proselyte. 
The Whigs execrated him as a hypocrite and a renegade. The 
Tories regarded the report of his apostasy as a calumny which 
Papists and Whigs had, for very different reasons, a common 
interest in circulating. James now took a step which greatly 
disconcerted the whole Anglican party. Two papers, in which 
were set forth very concisely the arguments ordinarily used 
by Roman Catholics against Protestants, had been found in 
Charles's strong box, and appeared to be in his handwriting. 
These papers James showed triumphantly to several Protestants, 
and declared that, to his knowledge, his brother had lived and 
died a Roman Catholic. t One of the persons to whom the 
manuscripts were exhibited was Archbishop Sancroft. He read 
them with much emotion, and remained silent. Such silence 
was only the natural effect of a struggle between respect and 
vexation. But James 7 supposed that the Primate was struck 
dumb by the irresistible force of reason, and eagerly challenged 
His Grace to produce, with the help of the whole episcopal 
bench, a satisfactory reply. " Let me have a solid answer, and 
in a gentlemanlike style ; and it may have the effect which you 
so much desire of bringing me over to your Church." The 
Archbishop mildly said that, in his opinion, such an answer 

* Lewis to Barillon, Feb. 10-20, 1685-6. 
t Evelyn's Diary, October 2, 1C85. 


might, without much difficulty, be written, but declined the 
controversy on the plea of reverence for the memory of his 
deceased master. This plea the King considered as the subter- 
fuge of a vanquished disputant.* Had His Majesty been well 
acquainted with the polemical literature of the preceding century 
and a half, he would have known that the documents to which 
he attached so much value might have been composed by any 
lad of fifteen in the college of Douay, and contained nothing 
which had not, in the opinion of all Protestant divines, been 
ten thousand times refuted. In his ignorant exultation, he 
ordered these tracts to be printed with the utmost pomp of 
typography, and appended to them a declaration attested by his 
sign manual, and certifying that the originals were in his 
brother's own hand. James himself distributed the whole edition 
among his courtiers and among the people of humbler rank who 
crowded round his coach. He gave one copy to a young woman 
of mean condition whom he supposed to be of his own religious 
persuasion, and assured her that she would be greatly edified 
and comforted by the perusal. In requital of his kindness, she 
delivered to him, a few days later, an epistle adjuring him to 
come out of the mystical Babylon and to dash from his lips the 
cup of fornications.f 

These things gave great uneasiness to Tory churchmen. 
Nor were the most respectable Roman Catholic nqblemen 
much better pleased. They might indeed have been excused 
if passion had, at this conjuncture, made them deaf to the voice 
of prudence and justice ; for they had suffered much. Protest- 
ant jealousy had degraded them from the rank to which they 
were born, had closed the doors of the Parliament House on 
the heirs of barons who had signed the Charter, had pronounced 
the command of a company of foot too high a trust for the 
descendants of the generals who had conquered at Flodden and 
Saint Quentin. There was scarcely one eminent peer attached 

* Life of James the Second, ii. 9, Orig. Mem. 

t Van Leeuwen, Jan. 1-11, and 12-22, 1686. Her letter, though very long and 
very absurd, was thought worth sending to the States G eneral as a sign of the 


to the old faith whose honour, whose estate, whose life had not 
been in jeopardy, who had not passed months in the Tower, 
who had not often anticipated for himself the fate of Stafford. 
Men who had been so long and cruelly oppressed might have 
been pardoned if they had eagerly seized the first opportunity 
of obtaining at once greatness and revenge. But neither 
fanaticism nor ambition, neither resentment for past wrongs 
nor the intoxication produced by sudden good fortune, could 
prevent the most distinguished Roman Catholics from perceiv- 
ing that the prosperity which they at length enjoyed was only 
temporary, and, unless wisely used, might be fatal to them. 
They had been taught, by a cruel experience, that the antipathy 
of the nation to their religion was not a fancy which would 
yield to the mandate of a prince, but a profound sentiment, the 
growth of five generations, diffused through all ranks and 
parties, and intertwined not less closely with the principles 
of the Tory than with the principles of the Whig. It 
was indeed in the power of the King, by the exercise of 
his prerogative of mercy, to suspend the operation of the 
penal laws. It might hereafter be in his power, by discreet 
management, to obtain from the Parliament a repeal of the 
acts which imposed civil disabilities on those who professed his 
religion. But if he attempted to subdue the Protestant feeling 
of England by rude means, it was easy to see that the violent 
compression of so powerful and elastic a spring would be fol- 
lowed by as violent a recoil. The Roman Catholic peers, by 
prematurely attempting to force their way into the Privy 
Council and the House of Lords, might lose their mansions and 
their ample estates, and might end their lives as traitors on 
Tower Hill, or as beggars at the porches of Italian convents. 

Such was the feeling of William Herbert, Earl of Powis, 
who was generally regarded as the chief of the Roman Catholic 
aristocracy, and who, according to Oates, was to have been 
prime minister if the Popish plot had succeeded. John Lord 
Bellasyse took the same view of the state of affairs. In his 
youth he had fought gallantly for Charles the First, had been 
rewarded after the restoration with high honours and commands, 


and had quitted them when the Test Act was passed. With 
these distinguished leaders all the noblest and most opulent 
members of their church concurred, except Lord Arundell of 
Wardour, an old man fast sinking into second childhood. 

But there was at the court a small knot of Roman Catholics 
whose hearts had been ulcerated by old injuries, whose heads 
had been turned by recent elevation, who were impatient to 
climb to the highest honours of the state, and who, having 
little to lose, were not troubled by thoughts of the day of reck- 
oning. One of these was Roger Palmer, Earl of Castelmaine 
in Ireland, and husband of the Duchess of Cleveland. His 
title had notoriously been purchased by his wife's dishonour 
and his own. His fortune was small. His temper, naturally 
ungentle, had been exasperated by his domestic vexations, by 
the public reproaches, and by what he had undergone in the 
days of the Popish plot. He had been long a prisoner, and 
had at length been tried for his life. Happily for him, he was 
not put to the bar till the first burst of popular rage had spent 
itself, and till the credit of the false witnesses had been blown 
upon. He had therefore escaped, though very narrowly/* 
With Castelmaine was allied one of the most favoured of his 
wife's hundred lovers, Henry Jermyn, whom James had lately 
created a peer by the title of Lord Dover. Jermyn had been 
distinguished more than twenty years before by his vagrant 
amours and his desperate duels. He was now ruined by play, 
and was eager to retrieve his fallen fortunes by means of lucra- 
tive posts from which the laws excluded him.f To the same party 
belonged an intriguing pushing Irishman named White, who 
had been much abroad, who had served the House of Austria 
as something between an envoy and a spy, and who had been 
rewarded by that House for his services with the title of Mar- 
quess of Albeville..t 

Soon after the prorogation this reckless faction was 

* See his trial in the Collection of State Trials, and his curious manifesto, 
printed in 1681. 

t Mfemoiirss de Graramont ; Pepys's Diary, Aug. 19, 1362 ; Bonrepaux to 
Seignelay, Feb. 1-11, 1686. 

i Bonrepaux to Seignelay, Feb. 1-11, 16SG. 


strengthened by an important reinforcement. Richard Talbot, 
Earl of Tyrconnel, the fiercest and most uncompromising of all 
those who hated the liberties and religion of England, arrived 
at court from Dublin. 

Talbot was descended from an old Norman family which 
had been long settled in Leinster, which had there sunk into 
degeneracy, which had adopted the manners of the Celts, which 
had, like the Celts, adhered to the old religion, and which had 
taken part with the Celts in the rebellion of 1641. In his 
youth he had been one of the most noted sharpers and bailies 
of London. He had been introduced to Charles and James 
when they were exiles in Flanders, as a man fit and ready for 
the infamous service of assassinating the Protector. Soon after 
the Restoration, Talbot attempted to obtain the favour of the 
royal family by a service more infamous still. A plea was 
wanted which might justify the Duke of York in breaking that 
promise of marriage by which he had obtained from Anne 
Hyde the last proof of female affection. Such a plea Talbot, in 
concert with some of his dissolute companions, undertook to fur- 
nish. They agreed to describe the poor young lady as a creature 
without virtue, shame, or delicacy, and made up long romances 
about tender interviews and stolen favours. Talbot in particular 
related how, in one of his secret visits to her, he had unluckily 
overturned the Chancellor's inkstand upon a pile of papers, and 
how cleverly she had averted a discovery by laying the blame 
of the accident on her monkey. These stories, which, if they 
had been true, would never have passed the lips of any but the 
basest of mankind, were pure inventions. Talbot was soon 
forced to own that they were so ; and he owned it without a 
blush. The injured lady became Duchess of York. Had her 
husband been a man really upright and honourable, he would have 
driven from his presence with indignation and contempt the 
wretches who had slandered her. But one of the peculiarities 
of James's character was that no act, however wicked and 
shameful, which had been prompted by a desire to gain his 
favour, ever seemed to him deservingof disapprobation. Talbot 
continued to frequent the court, appeared daily with brazen 


front before the princess whose ruin he had plotted, and was 
installed into the lucrative post of chief pandar to her husband. 
In no long time Whitehall was thrown into confusion by the 
news that Dick Talbot, as he was commonly called, had laid a 
plan to murder the Duke of Ormond. The bravo was sent to 
the Tower : but in a few days he was again swaggering about 
the galleries, and carrying billets backward and forward between 
his patron and the ugliest maids of honour. It was in vain that 
old and discreet councillors implored the royal brothers not to 
countenance this bad man, who had nothing to recommend him 
except his fine person and his taste in dress. Talbot was not 
only welcome at the palace when the bottle or the dicebox was 
going round, but was heard with attention on matters of busi- 
ness. He affected the character of an Irish patriot, and pleaded, 
with great audacity, and sometimes with success, the cause of 
his countrymen whose estates had been confiscated. He took 
care, however, to be well paid for his services, and succeeded in 
acquiring, partly by the sale of his influence, partly by gambling, 
and partly by pimping, an estate of three thousand pounds a 
year. For under an outward show of levity, profusion, improv- 
idence, and eccentric impudence, he was in truth one of the 
most mercenary and crafty of mankind. He was now no longer 
young, and was expiating by severe sufferings the dissoluteness 
of his youth: but age and disease had made no essential change 
in his character and manners. He still, whenever he opened 
his mouth, ranted, cursed, and swore with such frantic violence 
that superficial observers set him down for the wildest of liber- 
tines. The multitude was unable to conceive that a man who, 
even when sober, was more furious and boastful than others 
when they were drunk, and who seemed utterly incapable of 
disguising any emotion or keeping any secret, could really be a 
coldhearted, farsighted, scheming sycophant. Yet such a man 
was Talbot. In truth his hypocrisy was of a far higher and 
rarer sort than the hypocrisy which had flourished in Barebone's 
Parliament. For the consummate hypocrite is not he who con- 
ceals vice behind the semblance^of virtue, but he who makes the 
vice which he has no objection to show a stalking horse to cover 


darker and more profitable vice which it is for his interest to 

Talbot, raised by James to the earldom of Tyrconnel, had 
commanded the troops in Ireland during the niue months which 
elapsed between the termination of the viceroyalty of Ormond 
and the commencement of the viceroyalty of Clarendon. AYheu 
the new Lord Lieutenant was about to leave London for Dub- 
lin, the General was summoned from Dublin to London. Dick 
Talbot had lono- been well known on the road which lie had 
now to travel. Between Chester and the capital there was not 
an inn where he had not been in a brawl. He was now more in- 
solent and turbulent than ever. He pressed horses in defiance 
of law, swore at the cooks and postilions, and almost raised 
mobs by his insolent rodomontades. The Reformation, he told 
the people, had ruined everything. But fine times were com- 
ing. The Catholics would soon be uppermost. The heretics 
should pay for all. Raving and blaspheming incessantly, like a 
demoniac, he came to the court.* As soon as he was there, he 
allied himself closely with Castelmaine, Dover, aud Aibeville. 
These men called with one voice for war on the constitution of the 
Church and the State. They told their master that he owed it 
to his religion and to the dignity of his crown to stand firm 
against the outcry of heretical demagogues, and exhorted hhn 
to let the Parliament see from the first that he would be 
master in spite of opposition, and that the only effect of oppo- 
sition would be to make him a hard master. 

Each of the two parties into which the Court was divided 
had zealous foreign allies. The ministers of Spain, of the Em- 
pire, and of the States General were now as anxious to support 
Rochester as they had formerty been to support Halifax. All 
t]ie influence of Barillon was employed on the other side ; and 
Barillon was assisted by another French agent, inferior to him 
in station, but superior in abilities, Bonrepaux. Barillon was 
not without parts, and possessed in large measure the graces and 

* Memoires de Grammont ; Life of Edward. Earl of Clarendon ; Correspon- 
dence of Henry, Earl of Clarendon, passim, particularly the letter dated Dec. 
20, 1CS5 ; Sheridan MS. among the Stuart Papers ; Ellis Correspondence, Jar.. 12, 


accomplishments which then distinguished the French gentry. 
But his capacity was scarcely equal to what his great place 
required. He had become sluggish and selfiiidulgent, liked the 
pleasures of society and of the table better than business, and 
on great emergencies generally waited for admonitions and 
even for reprimands from Versailles before he showed much 
activity.* Bonrepaux had raised himself from obscurity by the 
intelligence and industry which he had exhibited as a clerk in 
the department of the marine, and was esteemed an adept in 
the art of mercantile politics. At the close of the year 1G85, 
he was sent to London charged with several special commissions 
of high importance. He was to lay the ground for a treaty of 
commerce ; he was to ascertain and report the state of the Eng- 
lish fleets and dockyards ; and he was to make some overtures 
to the Huguenot refugees, who, it was supposed, had been so 
effectually tamed by penury and exile, that they would thank- 
fully accept almost any terms of reconciliation. The new Envoy's, 
origin was plebeian: his stature was dwarfish: his countenance 
was ludicrously ugly ; and his accent was that of his native Gas- 
cony : but his strong sense, his keen penetration, and his lively 
wit eminently qualified him for his post. In spite of every disad- 
vantage of birth and figure, he was soon known as a pleasing com- 
panion and as a skilful diplomatist. He contrived, while Lilting 
with the Duchess of Mazarin, discussing literary questions with 
AValler and Saint Evremond, and corresponding with La Fon- 
taine, to acquire a considerable knowledge of English politics. 
His skill in maritime affairs recommended him to James, who had, 
during many years, paid close attention to the business of the 
Admiralty, and understood that business as well as he was 
capable of understanding anything. They conversed every day 
long and freely about the state of the shipping and the dock- 
yards. The result of this intimacy was, as might have been 
expected, that the keen and vigilant Frenchman conceived a 
great contempt for the King's abilities and character. The 

* See his later correspondence, passim ; Saint Evremond, pasHm, : and Mad- 
ame de Sevigne's Letters in the beginning of 1C83. See also the instructions to 
Tallard after the peace of Ryswick, in the French archives. 


world, he said, had much overrated his Britannic Majesty, who 
had less capacity than Charles, and not more virtue.* 

The two Envoys of Lewis, though pursuing one object, very 
judiciously took different paths. They made a partition of the 
court. Bonrepaux lived chiefly with Rochester and Roch- 
ester's adherents. Barillon's connections were chiefly with 
the opposite faction. The consequence was that they some- 
times saw the same event in different points of view. The 
best account now extant of the contest which at this time agi- 
tated Whitehall is to be found in their despatches. 

As each of the two parties at the court of James had the 
support of foreign princes, so each had also the support of an 
ecclesiastical authority to which the King paid great deference. 
The Supreme Pontiff was for legal and moderate courses ; and 
his sentiments were expressed by the Nuncio and by the Yicar 
Apostolic, f On the other side was a body of which the weight 
balanced even the weight of the Papacy, the mighty Order of 

That at this conjuncture these two great spiritual powers, 
once, as it seemed, inseparably allied, should have been opposed 
to each other, is a most important and remarkable circum- 
stance. During a period of little less than a thousand years 
the regular clergy had been the chief support of the Holy See. 
By that See they had been protected from episcopal interfer- 
ence ; and the protection which they had received had been 
amply repaid. But for their exertions it is probable that the 
Bishop of Rome would have been merely the honorary presi- 
dent of a vast aristocracy of prelates. It was by the aid of the 
Benedictines that Gregory the Seventh was enabled to contend 
at once against the Franconian Caesars and against the secular 

* Saint Simon, Memoires, 1697, 1719 ; Saint Evremond ; La Fontaine ; Bonre- 
paux to Seignelay, J^P" Feb. 8-18, 1686. 

t Adda, Nov. 16-26, Dec. 7-17, and Dec. 21-31, 1685. In these despatches Adda 
gives strong reasons for compromising matters by abolishing the penal laws and 
leaving the test. He calls the quarrel with the Parliament a " gran disgrazia." 
He repeatedly hints that the King might, by a constitutional policy, have obtained 
much for the Roman Catholics, and that the attempt to relieve them illegally is 
likely to bring great calamities on them. 


priesthood. It was by the aid of ^the Dominicans and Francis- 
cans that Innocent the Third crushed the Albigensian sectaries. 
Three centuries later the Pontificate, exposed to new dangers 
more formidable than had ever before threatened it, was saved 
by a new religious order, which was animated by intense en- 
thusiasm and organised with exquisite skill. When the Jesuits 
came to the rescue, they found the Papacy in extreme peril : 
but from that moment the tide of battle turned. Protestantism, 
which had, during a whole generation, carried all before it, was 
stopped in its progress, and rapidly beaten back from the foot 
of the Alps to the shores of the Baltic. Before the Order had 
existed a hundred years, it had filled the whole world with 
memorials of great things done and suffered for the faith. No 
religious community could produce a list of men so variously 
distinguished : none had extended its operations over so vast a 
space : yet in none had there ever been such perfect unity of 
feeling and action. There was no region of the globe, no 
walk of speculative or of active life, in which Jesuits were not 
to be found. They guided the counsels of Kings. They de- 
ciphered Latin inscriptions. They observed the motions of 
Jupiter's satellites. They published whole libraries, contro- 
versy, casuistry, history, treatises on optics, Alcaic odes, editions 
of the fathers, madrigals, catechisms, and lampoons. The 
liberal education of youth passed almost entirely into their 
hands, and was conducted by them with conspicuous ability. 
They appear to have discovered the precise point to which in- 
tellectual culture can be carried without risk of intellectual 
emancipation. Enmity itself was compelled to own that, in the 
art of managing and forming the tender mind, they had no 
equals. Meanwhile they assiduously and successfully cultivated 
the eloquence of the pulpit. With still greater assiduity and 
still greater success they applied themselves to the minis try of 
the confessional. Throughout Roman Catholic Europe the 
secrets of every government and of almost every family of note 
were in their keeping. They glided from one Protestant coun- 
try to another under innumerable disguises, as gay Cavaliers, 
as simple rustics, as Puritan preachers. They wandered to 


countries which neither mercantile avidity nor liberal curiosity 
had ever impelled any stranger to explore. They were to be 
found in the garb of Mandarins, superintending the observatory 
at Pekin. They were to be found, spade in hand, teaching the 
rudiments of agriculture to the savages of Paraguay. Yet, 
whatever might be their residence, whatever might be their 
employment, their spirit was the same, entire devotion to the 
common cause, unreasoning obedience to the central authority. 
None of them had chosen his dwelling-place or his vocation for 
himself. Whether the Jesuit should live under the arctic circle 
or under the equator, whether he should pass his life in arrang- 
ing gems and collating manuscripts at the Vatican or in per- 
suading naked barbarians under the Southern Cross not to eat 
each other, were matters which he left with profound submission 
to the decision of others. If he was wanted at Lima, he was 
on the Atlantic in the next fleet. If he was wanted at Bag-dad, 
he was toiling through the desert with the next caravan. If 
his ministry was needed in some country where his life was 
more insecure than that of a wolf, where it was a crime to har- 
bour him, where the heads and quarters of his brethren, fixed 
in the public places, showed him wnat he had to expect, he 
went without remonstrance or hesitation to his doom. Nor is 
this heroic spirit yet extinct. When, in our own time, a new 
and terrible pestilence passed round the globe, when, in some 
great cities, fear had dissolved all the ties which hold society 
together, when the secular clergy had forsaken their flocks, 
when medical succour was nofe to be purchased by gold, when 
the strongest natural affections had yielded to the love of life, 
even then the Jesuit was found by the pallet which bishop and 
curate, physician and nurse, father and mother, had deserted,, 
bending over infected lips to catch the faint accents of confes- 
sion, and holding up to the last, before the expiring penitent, 
the image of the expiring Redeemer. 

But with the admirable energy, disinterestedness, and self- 
devotion which were characteristic of the Society, great vices 
were mingled. It was alleged, and not without foundation, that 
the ardent public spirit which made the Jesuit regardless of 


his ease, of his liberty, and of his life, made him also regardless 
of truth and of mercy ; that no means which could promote the 
interest of his religion seemed to him unlawful, and that by 
the interest of his religion he too often meant the interest of his 
Society. It was alleged that, in the most atrocious plots record- 
ed in history, his agency could be distinctly traced ; that, con- 
stant only in attachment to the fraternity to which he belonged, 
he was in some countries the most dangerous enemy of freedom, 
and in others the most dangerous enemy of order. The mighty 
victories which he boasted that he had achieved in the cause of 
the Church were, in the judgment of many illustrious members 
of that Church, rather apparent than real. He had indeed la- 
boured with a wonderful show of success to reduce the world 
under her laws ; but he had done so by relaxing her laws to 
suit the temper of the world. Instead of toiling to elevate 
human nature to the noble standard fixed by divine precept and 
example, he had lowered the standard till it was beneath the 
average level of human nature. He gloried in multitudes of 
converts who had been baptised in the remote regions of the 
East ; but it was reported that from some of those converts the 
facts on which the whole theology of the Gospel depends had 
been cunningly concealed, and that others were permitted to 
avoid persecution by bowing down before the images of false 
gods, while internally repeating Paters and Aves. Nor was 
it only in heathen countries that such arts were said to be prac- 
tised. It was not strange that people of all ranks, and es- 
pecially of the highest ranks, crowded to the confessionals in 
the Jesuit temples ; for from those confessionals none went dis- 
contented away. There the priest was all things to all men. 
He showed just so much rigour as might not drive those who 
knelt at his spiritual tribunal to the Dominican or the Francis- 
can church. If he had to deal with a mind truly devout, he 
spoke in the saintly tones of the primitive fathers : but with 
that large part of mankind who have religion enough to make 
them uneasy when they do wrong, and not religion enough to 
keep them from doing wrong, he followed a different system. 
Since he could not reclaim them from vice, it was his business 


to save them from remorse. L lie had at his command an im- 
mense dispensary of anodynes for wounded consciences. In 
the books of casuistry which had been written by his brethren, 
and printed with the approbation of his superiors, were to be 
found doctrines consolatory to transgressors of every class. 
There the bankrupt was taught how he might, without sin, se- 
crete his goods from his creditors. The servant was taught how 
he might, without sin, run off with his master's plate. The 
pandar was assured that a Christian man might innocently earn 
his living by carrying letters and messages between married 
women and their gallants. The high spirited and punctilious 
gentlemen of France were gratified by a decision in favour of 
duelling. The Italians, accustomed to darker and baser 
modes of vengeance, were glad to learn that they might, with- 
out any crime, shoot at their enemies from behind hedges. To 
deceit was given a license sufficient to destroy the whole value 
of human contracts and of human testimony. In truth, if soci- 
ety continued to hold together, if life and property enjoyed any 
security, it was because common sense and common humanity 
restrained men from doing what the Order of Jesus assured 
them that they might with a safe conscience do. 

So strangely were good and evil intermixed in the character 
of these celebrated brethren ; and the intermixture was the 
secret of their gigantic power. That power could never have 
belonged to mere hypocrites. It could never have belonged to 
rigid moralists. It was to be attained only by men sincerely 
enthusiastic in the pursuit of a great end, and at the same time 
unscrupulous as to the choice of means. 

From the first the Jesuits had been bound by a peculiar al- 
legiance to the Pope. Their mission had been not less to quell 
all mutiny within the Church than to repel the hostility of her 
avowed enemies. Their doctrine was in the highest degree 
what has been called on our side of the Alps Ultramontane, 
and differed almost as much from the doctrine of Bossuet as 
from that of Luther. They condemned the Galilean liberti< . 
the claim of oecumenical councils to control the Holy See, and 
the claim of Bishops to an independent commission from heaven. 


Lainez, in the name of the whole fraternity, proclaimed at Trent, 
amidst the applause of the creatures of Pius the Fourth, and the 
murmurs of French and Spanish prelates, that the government 
of the faithful had been committed by Christ to the Pope alone, 
that in the Pope alone all sacerdotal authority was concentrated, 
and that through the Pope alone priests and bishops derived 
whatever power they possessed.* During many years the 
union between the Supreme Pontiffs and the Order had contin- 
ued unbroken. Had that union been still unbroken when James 
the Second ascended the English throne, had the influence of 
the Jesuits as well as the influence of the Pope been exerted in 
favour of a moderate and constitutional policy, it is probable 
that the great revolution which in a short time changed the 
whole state of European affairs would never have taken place. 
But even, before the middle of the seventeenth century, the 
Society, proud of its services and confident in its strength, had 
become impatient of the yoke. A generation of Jesuits sprang 
up, who looked for protection and guidance rather to the court, 
of France than to the court of Rome ; and this disposition was 
not a little strengthened when Innocent the Eleventh was raised 
to the papal throne. 

The Jesuits were, at that time, engaged in a war to the 
death against an enemy whom they had at first disdained, but 
whom they had at length been forced to regard with respect and 
fear. Just when their prosperity was at the height, they were 
braved by a handful of opponents, who had indeed no influence 
with the rulers of this world, but who were strong in religious 
faith and intellectual energy. Then followed a long, a strange, 
a glorious conflict of genius against power. The Jesuit called 
cabinets, tribunals, universities to his aid ; and they responded 
to the call. Port Royal appealed, not in vain, to the hearts and 
to the understandings of millions. The dictators of Christendom 
found themselves, on a sudden, in the position of culprits. They 
were arraigned on the charge of having systematically debased 
the standard of evangelical morality, for the purpose of increas- 
ing their own influence ; and the charge was enforced in a 
* Fra Paolo, lib. vii. ; PallaVicino, lib. xviii. cap. 15« 


manner which at once arrested the attention of the whole world ; 
for the chief accuser was Blaise Pascal. His powers of mind 
were such as have rarely been bestowed on any of the children 
of men ; and the vehemence of the zeal which animated him 
was but too well proved by the cruel penances and vigils under 
which his macerated frame sank into an early grave. His spirit 
was the spirit of Saint Bernard : but the delicacy of his wit, the 
purity, the energy, the simplicity of his rhetoric, had never been 
equalled, except by the great masters of Attic eloquence. All 
Europe read and admired, laughed and wept. The Jesuits 
attempted to reply : but their feeble answers were received by 
the public with shouts of mockery. They wanted, it is true, no 
talent or accomplishment into which men can be drilled by 
elaborate discipline ; but such discipline, though it may bring 
out the powers of ordinary minds, has a tendency to suffocate, 
rather than to develope, original genius. It was universally 
acknowledged that, in the literary contest, the Jansenists were 
completely victorious. To the Jesuits nothing was left but to 
oppress the sect which they could not confute. Lewis the 
Fourteenth was now their chief support. His conscience had, 
from boyhood, been in their keeping ; and he had learned from 
them to abhor Jansenism quite as much as he abhorred Protes- 
tantism, and very much more than he abhorred Atheism. Inno- 
cent the Eleventh, on the other hand, leaned to the Jansenist 
opinions. The consequence was that the Society found itself 
in a situation never contemplated by its founder. The Jesuits 
were estranged from the Supreme Pontiff ; and they were 
closely allied with a prince who proclaimed himself the cham- 
pion of the Gallican liberties and the enemy of Ultramontane 
pretensions. The Order therefore became in England an in- 
strument of the designs of Lewis, and laboured, with a success 
which the Roman Catholics afterwards long and bitterly de- 
plored, to widen the breach between the King and the Parlia- 
ment, to thwart the Nuncio, to undermine the power of the 
Lord Treasurer, and to support the most desperate schemes of 

Thus on one side were the Hydes and the whole body of 


Tory churchmen, Powis and all the most respectable noblemen 
and gentlemen of the King's own faith, the States General, the 
House of Austria, and the Pope. On the other side were a few 
Roman Catholic adventurers, of broken fortune and tainted 
reputation, backed by France and by the Jesuits. 

The chief representative of the Jesuits at Whitehall was an 
English brother of the Order, who had, during some time, acted 
as Viceprovincial, who had been long regarded by James with 
peculiar favour, and who had lately been made Clerk of the 
Closet. This man, named Edward Petre, was descended from 
an honourable family : his manners were courtly : his speech 
was flowing and plausible : but he was weak and vain, covetous 
and ambitious. Of all the evil counsellors who had access to the 
royal ear, he bore, perhaps, the largest part in the ruin of the 
House of Stuart. 

The obstinate and imperious nature of the King gave great 
advantages to those who advised him to be firm, to yield nothing, 
and to make himself feared. One state maxim had taken pos- 
session of his small understanding, and was not to be dislodged 
by reason. To reason, indeed, he was not in the habit of attend- 
ing. His mode of arguing, if it is to be so called, was one not 
uncommon among dull and stubborn persons, who. are accustomed 
to be surrounded by their inferiors. He asserted a proposition ; 
and, as often as wiser people ventured respectfully to show that 
it was erroneous, he asserted it again, in exactly the same words, 
and conceived that, by doing so, he at once disposed of all objec- 
tions/* " I will make no concession," he often repeated ; " my 
father made concessions, and he was beheaded." f Even if it 
had been true that concession had been fatal to Charles the First, 
a man of sense would have remembered that a single experiment 
is not sufficient to establish a general rule even in sciences 
much less complicated than the science of government ; that, 

* This was the practice of his daughter Anne ; and Marlborough said that she 
had learned it from her father. See the Vindication of the Duchess of Marl- 

t Down to the time of the trial of the Bishops, James went on telling Adda 
that all the calamities of Charles the First were u per la troppa indulgenza." 
Despatch of ^" e ^ 1688. 

Vol. II— 5 


since the beginning of the world, no two political experiments 
were ever made of which all the conditions were exactly alike ; 
and that the only way to learn civil prudence from history is to 
examine and compare an immense number of cases. But, if the 
single instance on which the King relied proved anything, it 
proved that he was in the wrong. There can be little doubt that, 
if Charles had frankly made to the Short Parliament which met 
in the spring of 1640, but one half of the concessions which he 
made, a few months later, to the Long Parliament, he would have 
lived and died a powerful King. On the other hand, there can 
be no doubt whatever that, if he had refused to make any con- 
cession to the Long Parliament, and had resorted to arms in 
defence of the Shipmoney and of the Star Chamber, he would 
have seen, in the hostile ranks, Hyde and Falkland side by side 
with Hollis and Hampden. It would indeed be more correct to 
say that, if he had refused to make any concession, he would not 
have been able to resort to arms ; for not twenty Cavaliers 
would have joined his standard. It was to his large concessions 
alone that he owed the support of that great body of noblemen 
and gentlemen who fought so long and so gallantly in his cause. 
But it would have been useless to represent these things to 

Another fatal delusion had taken possession of his mind, and 
was never dispelled till it had ruined him. He firmly believed 
that, do what he might, the members of the Church of England 
would act up to their principles. It had, he knew, been pro- 
claimed from ten thousand pulpits, it had been solemnly declared 
by the University of Oxford, that even tyranny as frightful as 
that of the most depraved of the Cossars did not justify subjects 
in resisting the royal authority ; and hence he was weak enough 
to conclude that the whole body of Tory gentlemen and clergy- 
men would let him plunder, oppress, and insult them, without 
lifting an arm against him. It seems strange that any man should 
have passed his fiftieth year without discovering that people 
sometimes do what they think wrong : and James had only to 
look into his own heart for abundant proof that even a strong 
sense of religious duty will not always prevent frail human beings 


from indulging their passions in defiance of divine laws, and at 
the risk of awful penalties. He must have been conscious that, 
though lie thought adultery sinful, he was an adulterer : but 
nothing could convince him that any man who professed to thirk 
rebellion sinful would ever, in any extremity, be a rebel. The 
Church of England was, in his view, a passive victim, which he 
might, without danger, outrage and torture at his pleasure ; nor 
did he ever see his error till the Universities were preparing to 
coin their plate for the purpose of supplying the military chest 
of his enemies, and till a Bishop, long renowned for loyalty, had 
thrown aside the cassock, put on jackboots, and taken the com- 
mand of a regiment of insurgents. 

In these fatal follies the King was artfully encouraged by a 
minister who had been an Exclusionist, and who still called him- 
self a Protestant, the Earl of Sunderland. The motives and 
conduct of this unprincipled politician have often been misrep- 
resented. He was, in his own lifetime, accused by the Jacobites 
of having, even before the beginning of the reign of James, 
determined to bring about a revolution in favour of the Prince 
of Orange, and of having, with that view, recommended a suc- 
cession of outrages on the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of 
the realm. This idle story has been repeated down to our own 
days by ignorant writers. But no well informed historian, 
whatever might be his prejudices, has condescended to adopt 
it : for it rests on no evidence whatever ; and scarcely any evi- 
dence would convince reasonable men that Sunderland deliber- 
ately incurred guilt and infamy in order to bring about a change 
by which it was clear that he could not possibly be a gainer, 
and by which, in fact, he lost immense wealth and influence. 
Nor is there the smallest reason for resorting to so strange a 
hypothesis. For the truth lies on the surface. Crooked as 
this man's course was, the law which determined it was simple. 
His conduct is to be ascribed to the alternate influence of 
cupidity and fear on a mind highly susceptible of both those 
passions, and quicksighted rather than farsighted. He wanted 
more power and more money. More power he could obtain only 
at Rochester's expense ; and the obvious way to obtain power at 


Rochester's expense was to encourage the dislike which the King 
felt for Rochester's moderate counsels. Money could be most 
easily and most largely obtained from the court of Versailles ; and 
Sunderland was eager to sell himself to that court. He had no 
jovial generous vices. He cared little for wine or for beauty : 
but he desired riches with an ungovernable and insatiable desire. 
The passion for play raged in him without measure, and had 
not been tamed by ruinous losses. His hereditary fortune was 
ample. He had long filled lucrative posts, and had neglected 
no art which could make them more lucrative : but his ill luck at 
the hazard table was such that his estates were daily becoming 
more and more encumbered. In the hope of extricating himself 
from his embarrassments, he betrayed to Barillon all the schemes 
adverse to France which had been meditated in the English 
cabinet, and hinted that a Secretary of State could in such 
times render services for which it might be wise in Lewis to pay 
largely. The Ambassador told his master that six thousand 
guineas was the smallest gratification that could be offered to so 
important a minister. Lewis consented to go as high as twenty- 
five thousand crowns, equivalent to about five thousand six hun- 
dred pounds sterling. It was agreed that Suuderland should 
receive this sum yearly, and that he should, in return, exert all 
his influence to prevent the reassembling of the Parliament.* 

He joined himself therefore to the Jesuitical cabal, and 
made so dexterous an use of the influence of that cabal that he 
was appointed to succeed Halifax in the high dignity of Lord 
President without being required to resign the far more active 
and lucrative post of Secretary, f He felt, however, that he 
could never hope to obtain paramount influence in the Court 
while he was supposed to belong to the Established Church. 
All religions were the same to him. In private circles, indeed, 

* Barillon, Nov. 16-26, 1685 ; Lewis to Barillon, Nov - 26, In a highly curious 

Dee. g. ° 

paper which was written in 1687, almost certainly by Bonrepaux, and which i9 

now in the French archives, Sunderland is described thus :— " La passion qu'il 

a pour le jeu, et les pertes considerables qu'il y fait, incommodentfort ses affaires. 

II n'aime pas le vin ; et il hai'tlos femmes." 

t It appears from the Council Book that he took his place as President on the 

4th of December, 1685. 


he was in the habit of talking with jjrofane contempt of the 
most sacred things. He therefore determined to let the King 
have the delight and glory of effecting a conversion. Some 
management, however, was necessary. No man is utterly with- 
out regard for the opinion of his fellow creatures ; and even 
Sunderland, though not very sensible to shame, flinched from 
the infamy of public apostasy. He played his part with rare 
adroitness. To the world he showed himself as a Protestant. 
In the Royal Closet he assumed the character of an earnest 
enquirer after truth, who was almost persuaded to declare him- 
self a Roman Catholic, and who, while waiting for fuller illum- 
ination, was disposed to render every service in his power to 
the professors of the old faith. James, who was never very 
discerning, and who in religious matters was absolutely blind, 
suffered himself, notwithstanding all that he had seen of hu- 
man knavery, of the knavery of courtiers as a class, and of the 
knavery of Sunderland in particular, to be duped into the belief 
that divine grace had touched the most false and callous of 
human hearts. During many months the wily minister con- 
tinued to be regarded at court as a promising catechumen, with- 
out exhibiting himself to the public in the character of a 

He early suggested to the King the expediency of appoint- 
ing a secret committee of Roman Catholics to advise on all 
matters affecting the interests of their religion. This committee 
met sometimes at Chiffinch's lodmn^s, and sometimes at the 
official apartments of Sunderland, who, though still nominally 
a Protestant, was admitted to all its deliberations, and soon 
obtained a decided ascendency over the other members. Every 
Friday the Jesuitical cabal dined with the Secretary. The 
conversation at table was free ; and the weaknesses of the 
prince whom the confederates hoped to manage were not spared. 
To Petre Sunderland promised a Cardinal's hat; to Castel- 

* Bonrepaux was not so easily deceiver! as James. "En son partieulier il 
(Sunderland) n'en professe aucune (religion), et en parle fort librement. Ces 
sortes de diseours seroient en execration en France. Tci ils sontordinaires parini 

un certain nombre de gens du pais."— Bonrepaux to Seignelay, y" ' ' 1687. 


maine a splendid embassy to Rome ; to Dover a lucrative 
command in the Guards ; and to Tyrconnel high employment in 
Ireland. Thus bound together by the strongest ties of interest, 
these men addressed themselves to the task of subverting the 
Treasurer's power.* 

There were two Protestant members of the cabinet who 
took no decided part in the struggle. Jeffreys was at this time 
tortured by a cruel internal malady which had been aggravated 
by intemperance. At a dinner which a wealthy Alderman 
gave to some of the leading members of the government, the 
Lord Treasurer and the Lord' Chancellor were so drunk that 
they stripped themselves almost stark naked, and were with 
difficulty prevented from climbing up a sign-post to drink His 
Majesty's health. The pious Treasurer escaped with nothing 
but the scandal of the debauch : but the Chancellor brought on 
a violent fit of his complaint. His life was for some time 
thought to be in serious danger. James expressed great un- 
easiness at the thought of losing a minister who suited him so 
well, and said, with some truth, that the loss of such a man 
could not be easily repaired. Jeffreys, when he became con- 
valescent, promised his support to both the contending parties, 
and waited to see which of them would prove victorious. Some 
curious proofs of his duplicity are still extant. It has been al- 
ready said that the two French agents who were then resident 
in London had divided the English court between them. 
Bonrepaux was constantly with Rochester ; and Barillon lived 
with Sunderland. Lewis was informed in the same week 
by Bonrepaux that the Chancellor was entirely with the Treas- 
urer, and by Barillon that the Chancellor was in league with 
the Secretary. f 

Godolphin, cautious and taciturn, did his best to preserve 
neutrality. His opinions and wishes were undoubtedly with 
Rochester ; but his office made it necessary for him to be in 

* Life of James the Second, ii. 74, 77. Orig. Mem. ; Sheridan MS. ; Barillon, 
March 10-20, 1686. 

t Reresby's Memoirs ; Luttrell's Diary, Feb. 2, 1G8 5-6 ; Barillon, Feb. 4-14, 

Jan. 28, . !»„.„,,»-„. Jl,1 >- '-''• 
-FebT7 ' Bome V aux > febV 4. 


constant attendance on the Queen ; and he was naturally un- 
willing to be on bad terms with her. There is indeed some 
reason to believe that he regarded her with an attachment more 
romantic than often finds place in the hearts of veteran states- 
men ; and circumstances which it is now necessary to relate, 
had thrown her entirely into the hands of the Jesuitical cabal.* 

The King, stern as was his temper and grave as was his 
deportment, was scarcely less under the influence of female 
attractions than his more lively and amiable brother had been. 
The beauty, indeed, which distinguished the favourite ladies of 
Charles was not necessary to James. Barbara Palmer, Eleanor 
Gwynn, and Louisa de Querouaille were among the finest 
women of their time. James, when young, had surrendered his 
liberty, descended below his rank, and incurred the displeasure 
of his family, for the coarse features of Anne Hyde. He had 
soon, to the great diversion of the whole court, been drawn 
away from his plain consort by a plainer mistress, Arabella 
Churchill. His second wife, though twenty years younger than 
himself, and of no unpleasing face or figure, had frequent reason 
to complain of his inconstancy. But of all his illicit attach- 
ments the strongest was that which bound him to Catharine 

This woman was the daughter of Sir Charles Sedley, one 
of the most brilliant and profligate wits of the Restoration. The 
licentiousness of his writings is not redeemed by much grace or 
vivacity ; but the charms of his conversation were acknowledged 
even by sober men who had no esteem for his character. To sit 
near him at the theatre, and to hear his criticisms on a new play, 
was regarded as an intellectual treat, f Dry den had clone him the 
honour to make him a principal interlocutor in the Dialogue on 
Dramatic Poesy. The morals of Sedley were such as, even in 
that age, gave great scandal. He on one occasion, after a wild 
revel, exhibited himself without a shred of clothing in the bal- 

* Dartmouth's note on Burnet, i. G21. In a contemporary satire it is remarked 
that Godolphin 

" Beats time with politic head, and all approves, 
Pleased with the charge of the Queen's muff and gloves.'* 

t Pepys, Oct. 4, 16G1. 


cony of a tavern near Covent Garden, and harangued the people 
who were passing in language so indecent and profane that he 
was driven in by a shower of brickbats, was prosecuted for a 
misdemeanour, was sentenced to a heavy fine, and was rep- 
rimanded by the Court of King's Bench in the most cutting 
terms.* His daughter had inherited his abilities and his im- 
pudence. Personal charms she had none, with the exception 
of two brilliant eyes, the lustre of which, to men of delicate 
taste, seemed fierce and unfeminine. Her form was lean, her 
countenance haggard. Charles, though he liked her conversation, 
laughed at her ugliness, and said that the priests must have 
recommended her to his brother by way of penance. She well 
knew that she was not handsome, and jested freely on her own 
homeliness. Yet, with strange inconsistency she loved to adorn 
herself magnificently, and drew on herself much keen ridicule 
by appearing in the theatre and the ring plastered, painted, clad 
in Brussels lace, glittering with diamonds, and affecting all the 
graces of eighteen. f 

The nature of her influence over James is not easily to be 
explained. He was no longer young. He was a religious man : 
at least he was willing to make for his religion exertions and 


sacrifices from which the great majority of those who are called 
religious men would shrink. It seems strange that any attraction 
should have drawn him into a course of life which he must have 
regarded as highly criminal ; and in this case none could under- 
stand where the attraction lay. Catharine herself was astonished 
by the violence of his passion. " It cannot be my beauty," she 
said ; " for he must see that I have none ; and it cannot be my 
wit ; for he has not enough to know that I have any." 

At the moment of the King's accession, a sense of the new 
responsibility which lay on him made his mind for a time 
peculiarly open to religious impressions. He formed and an- 
nounced many good resolutions, spoke in public with great 
severity of the impious and licentious manners of the age, and 
in private assured his Queen and his confessor that he would see 
Catharine Sedley no more. He wrote to his mistress entreat 

* Pepys, July 1, 1063. t See Dorset's satirical linos ou her. 


ing her to quit the apartments which she occupied at White- 
hall, and to go to a house in St. James's Square which had 
been splendidly furnished for her at his expense. lie at the 
same time promised to allow her a large pension from his 
privy purse. Catharine, clever, strongminded, intrepid, and 
conscious of her power, refused to stir. In a few months it 
began to be whispered that the services of Chiffinch were 
again employed, and that the mistress frequently passed and 
repassed through that private door through which Father 
Huddleston had borne the host to the bedside of Charles. The 
King's Protestant ministers had, it seems, conceived a hope 
that their master's infatuation for this woman might cure him 
of the more pernicious infatuation which impelled him to attack 
their religion. She had all the talents which could qualify 
her to play on his feelings, to make game of his scruples, to set 
before him in a strong light the difficulties and dangers into 
which he was running headlong. Rochester, the champion 
of the Church, exerted himself to strengthen her influence. 
Ormond, who is popularly regarded as the personification 
of all that is pure and highminded in the English Cava- 
lier, encouraged the design. Even Lady Rochester was not 
ashamed to co-operate, and to co-operate in the very worst 
way. Her office was to direct the jealous}' of the injured wife 
towards a young lady who was perfectly innocent. The whole 
court took notice of the coldness and rudeness with which 
the Queen treated the poor girl on whom suspicion had been 
thrown : but the cause of Her Majesty's ill humour was a 
mystery. For a time the intrigue went on prosperously and 
secretly. Catharine often told the King plainly what the 
Protestant Lords of the Council only dared to hint in the most 
delicate phrases. His crown, she said, was at stake : the old 
dotard Arundell and the blustering Tyrconnel would lead him 
to his ruin. It is possible that her caresses might have done 
what the united exhortations of the Lords and the Commons, of 
the House of Austria and the Holy See, had failed to do, but for 
a strange mishap which changed the whole face of affairs. 
James, in a fit of fondness, determined to make his mistress 


Countess of Dorchester in her own right. Catharine saw all the 
peril of such a step, and declined the invidious honour. He 
lover was obstinate, and himself forced the patent into her hands. 
She at last accepted it on one condition, which shows her con- 
fidence in her own power and in his weakness. She made him 
give her a solemn promise, not that he would never quit her, 
but that, if he did so, he would himself announce his resolution 
to her, and grant her one parting interview. 

As soon as the news of her elevation got abroad, the whole 
palace was in an uproar. The warm blood of Italy boiled in 
the veins of the Queen. Proud of her youth and of her charms, 
of her high rank and of her stainless chastity, she could not 
without agonies of grief and rage see herself deserted and in- 
sulted for such a rival. Rochester, perhaps remembering how 
patiently, after a short struggle, Catharine of Braganza had 
consented to treat the mistresses of Charles with politeness, had 
expected that, after a little complaining and pouting, Mary of 
Modena would be equally submissive. It was not so. She did 
not even attempt to conceal from the eyes of the world the 
violence of her emotions. Day after day the courtiers who 
came to see her dine observed that the dishes were removed un- 
tasted from the table. She suffered the tears to stream down her 
cheeks unconcealed in the presence of the whole circle of minis- 
ters and envoys. To the King she spoke with wild vehemence. 
"Let me go," she cried. "You have made your woman a 
Countess : make her a Queen. Put my crown on her head. 
Only let me hide myself in some convent, where I may never 
see her more." Then, more soberly, she asked him how he re- 
conciled his conduct to his religious professions. " You are 
ready," she said, " to put your kingdom to hazard for the sake 
of your soul ; and yet you are throwing away your soul for the 
sake of that creature." Father Petre, on bended knees, second- 
ed these remonstrances. It was his duty to do so ; and his duty 
was not the less strenuously performed because it coincided 
with his interest. The King went on for a time sinning and re- 
penting. In his hours of remorse his penances were severe. 
$Iary treasured up to the end of her life, and at her death be- 


qneathed to the convent of Chaillot, the scourge with which he 
had vigorously avenged her wrongs upon his own shoulders. 
Nothing but Catharine's absence could put an end to this strug- 
gle between an ignoble love and an ignoble superstition. James 
wrote, imploring and commanding her to depart. He owned 
that he had promised to bid her farewell in person. " But I 
know too well," he added, tk the power which you have over me. 
1 have not strength of mind enough to keep my resolutions if I 
see you." He offered her a yacht to convey her with all dig- 
nity and comfort to Flanders, and threatened that if she did not 
go quietly she should be sent away by force. She at one time 
worked on his feelings by pretending to be ill. Then she as- 
sumed the airs of a martyr, and impudently proclaimed herself 
a sufferer for the Protestant religion. Then again she adopted 
the style of John Hampden. She defied the King to remove 
her. She would try the right with him. While the Great 
Charter and the Habeas Corpus Act were the law of the land, 
she would live where she pleased. " And Flanders ! " she 
cried ; " never ! I have learned one thing from my friend the 
Duchess of Mazarin ; and that is never to trust myself in a 
country where there are convents." At length she selected 
Ireland as the place of her exile, probably because the brother 
of her patron Rochester was viceroy there. After many delays 
she departed, leaving the victory to the Queen.* 

The history of this extraordinary intrigue would be imper- 
fect, if it were not added that there is still extant a religious 
meditation, written by the Treasurer, with his own hand, on 
the very same day on which the intelligence of his attempt to 
govern his master by means of a concubine was despatched by 
Bonrepaux to Versailles. No composition of Ken or Leighton 

* The chief materials for the history of this intrigue are the despatches of 
Barillon and Bonrepaux at the besnnning of the year 1686. See Barillon, Jan j_ril- 

° a ' Feb. 4, 

Tin 9.9 

1 v » > FeD - 1 ~ n > FeD - 8-1.8, Feb. 19-20, and Bonrepaux under the first -four 
dates ; Evelyn's Diary, January 19 ; Reresby's Memoirs ; Burnet, i. 682 ; Sher- 
idan MS. ; Chaillot MS. ; Adda's Despatches, *"*• f ' and J ^^~ 1686- Adda 

1 ' Feb. 1, Feb. «, 

writes like a pious, but weak and ignorant man. He appears to have known 
nothing of James's past life. 


breathes a spirit of more fervent and exalted piety than this 
effusion. Hypocrisy cannot be suspected : for the paper was 
evidently meant only for the writer's own eye, and was not 
published ■ till he had been more than a century in his grave. 
So much is history stranger than fiction ; and so true is it that 
nature has caprices which art dares not imitate. A dramatist 
would scarcely venture to bring on the stage a grave prince, in 
the decline of life, ready to sacrifice his crown in order to serve 
the interests of his religion, indefatigable in making proselytes, 
and yet deserting and insulting a virtuous wife who had youth 
and beauty for the sake of a profligate paramour who had nei- 
ther. Still less, if possible, would a dramatist venture to intro- 
duce a statesman stooping to the wicked and shameful part of 
a procurer, and calling in his wife to aid him in that dishonour- 
able office, yet, in his moments of leisure, retiring to his closet, 
and there secretly pouring out his soul to his God in penitent 
tears and devout ejaculations. * 

The Treasurer soon found that, in using scandalous means 
for the purpose of obtaining a laudable end, he had committed, 
not only a crime, but a folly. The Queen was now his enemy. 
She affected, indeed, to listen with civility while the Hydes 
excused their recent conduct as well as they could ; and she 
occasionally pretended to use her influence in their favour : but 
she must have been more or less than woman if she had really 
forgiven the conspiracy which had been formed against her 
dignity and her domestic happiness by the family of her hus- 
band's «first wife. The Jesuits strongly represented to the King 
the danger which he had so narrowly escaped. His reputation, 

* The meditation bears date J ^ n u — 1 168 5-6. Bonrepaux, in his despatch of 

Feb. 4, 

the same day, says, " L'intrigue avoit ete eonduite par Milord Rochester et sa 
femme. * * * Leur projet etoit de fairc gouverner le Roy d'Angleterre par la 
nouvelle comtesse. lis sVtoieut assures d'elle." While Bonrepaux was writing 
thus, Rochester was writing as follows ; ; ' Oh God. teach me so to number my 
days that I may apply my heart unto wisdom. Teach me to number the days 
that I have spent in vanity and idleness, and teach me to number those that 1 
have spent in sin and wickedness. Oh God, teach me to number the days of my 
affliction too, and to give thanks for all that is come to me from thy hand. 
Teach me likewise to number the days of this world's greatness of which I have 
so great a share ; and teach me to look upon them as vanity and vexation of 


they said, his peace, his soul, had been put in peril by the mach- 
inations of his prime minister. The Nuncio, who would gladly 
have counteracted the influence of the violent party, and coop- 
erated with the moderate members of the cabinet, could not 
honestly or decently separate himself on this occasion from 
Father Petre. James himself, when parted by the sea from 
the charms which had so strongly fascinated him, could not but 
regard with resentment and contempt those who had sought to 
govern him by means of his vices. What had passed must 
have had the effect of raising his own Church in his esteem, 
and of lowering the Church of England. The Jesuits, whom it 
was the fashion to represent as the most unsafe of spiritual 
guides, as sophists who refined away the whole system of 
evangelical morality, as sycophants who owed their influence 
chiefly to the indulgence with which they treated the sins of 
the great, had reclaimed him from a life of guilt by rebukes as 
sharp and bold as those which David had heard from Nathan 
and Herod from the Baptist. On the other hand, zealous 
Protestants, whose favourite theme was the laxity of Popish 
casuists and the wickedness of doing evil that good might come, 
had attempted to obtain advantages for their own Church in a 
way which all Christians regarded as highly criminal. The 
victory of the cabal of evil counsellors was therefore complete. 
The King looked coldly on Rochester. The courtiers and 
foreign ministers soon perceived that the Lord Treasurer was 
prime minister only in name. He continued to offer his advice 
daily, and had the mortification to find it daily rejected. Yet 
he could not prevail on himself to relinquish the outward show 
of power, and the emoluments which he directly and indirectly 
derived from his great place. He did his best, therefore, to con- 
ceal his vexations from the public eye. But his violent passions 
and his intemperate habits disqualified him for the part of a dis- 
sembler. His gloomy looks, when he came out of the council 
chamber, showed how little he was pleased with what had 
passed at the board ; and, when the bottle had gone round freely, 
words escaped him which betrayed his uneasiness.* 

* " Je vis Milord Rochester conime il sortoit du conseil fort chagrin ; et, sur 


He might, indeed, well be uneasy. Indiscreet and unpopular 
measures followed one another in rapid succession. All thought 
of returning to the policy of the Triple Alliance was abandoned. 
The King explicitly avowed to the ministers of those Continen- 
tal powers with which he had lately intended to ally himself, 
that all his views had undergone a change, and that England 
was still to be, as she had been under his grandfather, his father, 
and his brother, of no account in Europe. " I am in no con- 
dition," he said to the Spanish Ambassador, " to trouble myself 
about what passes abroad. It is my resolution to let foreign 
affairs take their course, to establish my authority at home, and 
to do something for my religion." A few days later he an- 
nounced the same intentions to the States General.* From 
that time to the close of his ignominious reign, he made no 
serious effort to escape from vassalage, though, to the last, he 
could never hear, without transports of rage, that men called 
him a vassal. 

The two events which proved to the public that Sunderland 
and Sunderland's party were victorious were the prorogation of 
the Parliament from February to May, and the departure of 
Castelmaine for Rome with the appointments of an Ambassador 
of the highest rank.f 

Hitherto all the business of the English government at the 
papal court had been transacted by John Caryl. This gentle- 
man was known to his contemporaries as a man of fortune 
and fashion, and as the author of two successful plays, a tragedy 
in rhyme which had been made popular by the action and reci- 
tation of Betterton, and a comedy which owes all its value to 
scenes borrowed from Moliere. These pieces have long been 
forgotten ; but what Caryl could not do for himself has been 
done for him by a more powerful genius. Half a line in the 
Rape of the Lock has made his name immortal. 

la fin du souper, il lui en echappa quelque chose."— Bonrepaux, Feb. 18-28, 1G86. 
See also Barillon, March 1-11, 4-14. 

* Barillon, ^ arc1 ^' April 12-22, 1686. 
April 1, 

t London Gazette, Feb. 11, 168 5-6; Luttrell's Diary, Feb. S; Van Leeuwen, 
Feb. 9-19 ; Life of James, ii. 75. Orig. Mem. 


Caryl, who was, like all the other respectable Roman Cath- 
olics, an enemy to violent courses, had acquitted himself of 
his delicate errand at Rome with good sense and good feeling. 
The business confided to him was well done ; but he assumed 
no public character, and carefully avoided all display. His 
mission, therefore, put the government to scarcely any charge, 
and excited scarcely any murmurs. His place was now most 
unwisely supplied by a costly and ostentatious embassy of- 
fensive in the highest degree to the people of England, and by 
no means welcome to the court of Rome. Castelmaine had 
it in charge to demand a Cardinal's hat for his confederate 

About the same time the King began to show, in an un- 
equivocal manner, the feeling which he really entertained to- 
wards the banished Huguenots. While he had still hoped to 
cajole his Parliament into submission, and to become the head 
of an European coalition against France, he had affected to 
blame the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and to pity the 
unhappy men whom persecution had driven from their country. 
He had caused it to be announced that, at every church in the 
kingdom, a collection would be made under his sanction for their 
benefit. A proclamation on this subject had been drawn up in 
terms which might have wounded the pride of a sovereign less 
sensitive and vainglorious than Lewis. But all was now 
changed. The principles of the treaty of Dover were again the 
principles of the foreign policy of England. Ample apologies 
were therefore made for the discourtesy with which the Eng- 
lish government had acted towards France in showing favour 
to exiled Frenchmen. The proclamation which had dis- 
pleased Lewis was recalled.* The Huguenot ministers were 
admonished to speak with reverence of their oppressor in their 
public discourses, as they would answer it at their peril. James 
not only ceased to express commiseration for the sufferers, but 
declared that he believed them to harbour the worst designs, 
and owned that he had been guilty of an error in countenancing 

* Van Leeuwen, ?* b ?* 1686. 
' Mar o, 


them. Cne of the most eminent of the refugees, John Claude, 
had published on the Continent a small volume in which he 
described with great force the sufferings of his brethren. Ba- 
rillou demanded that some opprobrious mark should be put on 
this book. James complied, and in full council declared it to be 
his pleasure that Claude's libel should be burned by the hangman 
before the Royal Exchange. Even Jeffreys was startled, and 
ventured to represent that such a proceeding was without ex- 
ample, that the book was written in a foreign tongue, that it 
had been printed at a foreign press, that it related entirely to 
transactions which had taken place in a foreign country, and 
that no English government had ever animadverted on such works. 
James would not suffer the question to be discussed. " My 
resolution," he said, " is taken. It has become the fashion 
to treat Kings disrespectfully ; and they must stand by each 
other. One King should always take another's part : and I have 
particular reasons for showing this respect to the King of 
France." There was silence at the board : the order was forth- 
with issued : and Claude's pamphlet was committed to the flames, 
not without the deep murmurs of many who had always been 
reputed steady loyalists. # 

The promised collection was long put off under various pre- 
texts. The King would gladly have bro*ken his word : but it 
was pledged so solemnly that he could not for very shame re- 
tract.f Nothing, however, which could cool the zeal of congre- 
gations was omitted. It had been expected that, according to 
the practice usual on such occasions, the people would be ex- 
horted to liberality from the pulpits. But James was deter- 
mined not to tolerate declamations against his religion and his 
ally. The Archbishop of Canterbury was therefore commanded 
to inform the clergy that they must merely read the brief, and 

* Barillon, ^PlJ^ May 3-13, 1686 ; Van Citters, May 7-17 ; Evelyn's Diary, 
May 5 ; Luttrell's Diary of the same date ; Privy Council Book, May 2. 

t Lady Russell to Dr. Fitzwilliam, Jan. 22, 1686 ; Barillon, Feb. 15-25, ■ vlar j 

1686. " Ce prince temoigne," says Barillon, " une grande aversion pour eux, et 
aurait bien voulu se dispenser de la collecte, qui est ordonn6e en leur f aveur : 
wals il n'a pas cru que cela f ut possible." 


must not presume to preach on the sufferings of the French 
Protestants.* Nevertheless the contributions were so large 
that, after all deductions, the sum of forty thousand pounds was 
paid into the Chamber of London. Perhaps none of the muni- 
ficent subscriptious of our own age has borne so great a pro- 
portion to the means of the nation. f 

The King was bitterly mortified by the large amount of the 
collection which had been made in obedience to his own call. 
He knew, he said, what all this liberality meant. It was mere 
Whiggish spite to himself and his religion. | He had already 
resolved that the money should be of no use to those whom the 
donors wished to benefit. He had been, during some weeks, in 
close communication with the French embassy on this subject, 
and had, with the approbation of the court of Versailles, deter- 
mined on a course which it is not very easy to reconcile with 
those principles of toleration to which he afterwards pretended 
to be attached. The refugees were zealous for the Calvinistic 
discipline and worship. James therefore gave orders that none 
should receive a crust of bread or a basket of coals who did net 
first take the sacrament according to the Anglican ritual. § It 
is strange that this inhospitable rule should have been devised 
by a prince who affected to consider the Test Act as an outrage 
on the rights of conscience : for, however unjustifiable it maybe 
to establish a sacramental test for the purpose of ascertaining 
whether men are fit for civil or military office, it is surely much 
more unjustifiable to establish a sacramental test for the purpose 
of ascertaining whether, in their extreme distress, they are fit 
objects of charity. Nor had James the plea which may be urged 
in extenuation of the guilt of almost all other persecutors : for 

* Barillon, ** h ' * 1686. 

Mar. 4, 

t Account of the Commissioners, dated March 15, 1688. 

% " Le Roi d'Angleterre connoit hien que les gens mal intentionnes pour lui 

sont les plus prompts et les plus disposes a donner considerablement 

Sa Majsste Britannique connoit bien qu'il auroit ete a propos de ne point ordon- 
ner de oollecte. et que les gens mal intentionnes contre, la religion Catholique et 
contre lui se servent de cette occasion pour temoigner leur zele." — Barillon, 
April 19-29, 1686. 

§ Ba. illon, Feb, 15-25, T ^~, April 19-29, 1686 ; Lewis to Barillon, Mar. 5-15. 

Vol. IL— 6 


the religion which he commanded the refugees to profess on 
pain of being left to starve, was not his own religion. His con- 
duct towards them was therefore less excusable than that of 
Lewis : for Lewis oppressed them in the hope of bringing them 
over from a damnable heresy to the true Church : James op- 
pressed them only for the purpose of forcing them to apostatise 
from one damnable heresy to another. 

Several Commissioners, of whom the Chancellor was one, 
had been appointed to dispense the public alms. When they 
met, for the first time, Jeffreys announced the royal pleasure. 
The refugees, he said, were too generally enemies of monarchy 
and episcopacy. If they wished for relief, they must become 
members of the Church of England, and must take the sacrament 
from the hands of his chaplain. Many exiles who had come full 
of gratitude and hope to apply for succour, heard their sentence, 
and went brokenhearted away.* 

May was now approaching : and that month had been fixed 
for the meeting of the Houses : but they were again prorogued 
to November.! It was not strange that the King did not wish 
to meet them : for he had determined to adopt a policy which 
he knew to be, in the highest degree, odious to them. From his 
predecessors he had inherited two prerogatives, of which the lim- 
its had never been defined with strict accuracy, and which, if ex- 
erted without any limit, would of themselves have sufficed to 
overturn the whole polity of the State and of the Church. These 
were the dispensing power and the ecclesiastical supremacy. By 
means of the dispensing power, the King purposed to admit Ro- 
man Catholics, not merely to the civil and military, but to spirit- 
ual offices. By means of the ecclesiastical supremacy, he hoped 
to make the Anglican clergy his instruments for the destruc- 
tion of their own religion. 

This scheme developed itself by degrees. It was not thought 
safe to begin by granting to the whole Roman Catholic body a 
dispensation from all statutes imposing penalties and tests. For 

* Barillon, April 19-29, 1GSG ; Lady Ttussell to Dr. Fitewilliani, April 14. " He 
Bent away many," she says. •• will 1 , Bad hearts." 
t London Gazette of May 13, 1&S0. 


nothing was more fully established than that such a dispensation 
was illegal. The Cabal had, in 1G72, put forth a general Decla- 
ration of Indulgence. The Commons, as soon as they met, had 
protested against it. Charles the Secoud had ordered it to be 
cancelled in his presence, and had, both by his own mouth and 
by a written message, assured the Houses that the step which 
had caused so much complaint, should never be drawn into pre- 
cedent. It would have been difficult to find in all the Inns of 
Court a barrister of reputation to argue in defence of a prerog- 
ative which the Sovereign, seated on his throne in full Parlia- 
ment, had solemnly renounced a few years before. But it was 
not quite so clear that the King might not, on special grounds, 
grant exemptions to individuals by name. The first object of 
James, therefore, was to obtain from the courts of common law 
an acknowledgment that, to this extent, at least, he possessed 
the dispensing power. 

But, though his pretensions were moderate when compared 
with those which he put forth a few months later, he soon 
found that he had against him almost the whole sense of West- 
minster Hall. Four of the Judges gave him to understand that 
they could not, on this occasion, serve his purpose ; and it is 
remarkable that all the four were violent Tories, and that 
among them were men who had accompanied Jeffreys on the 
Bloody Circuit, and who had been consenting to the death of 
Cornish and of Elizabeth Gaunt. Jones, the Chief Justice of 
the common Pleas, a man who had never before shrunk from 
any drudgery, however cruel or servile, now held in the royal 
closet language which might have become the lips of the purest 
magistrates in our history. He was plainly told that he must 
either give up his opinion or his place. " For my place," he 
answered, " I care little. I am old and worn out in the service 
of the Crown : but I am mortified to find that Your Majesty 
thinks me capable of giving a judgment which none but an 
ignorant or a dishonest man could give." " I am determined," 
said the King, " to have twelve judges who will be all of my 
mind as to this matter." "Your Majesty," answered Jones, 
" may find twelve Judges of your mind, but hardly twelve* 


lawyers." * He was dismissed, together with Montague, Chief 
Baron of the Exchequer, and two puisne Judges, Neville and 
Charlton. One of the new Judges was Christopher Milton, 
younger brother of the great poet. Of Christopher little is 
known, except that, in the time of the civil war, he had been a 
Royalist, and that he now, in his old age, leaned towards 
Popery. It does not appear that he was ever formally recon- 
ciled to the Church of Rome : but he certainly had scruples 
about communicating with the Church of England, and had 
therefore a strong interest in supporting the dispensing power. | 
The King found his counsel as refractory as his Judges. 
The first barrister who learned that he was expected to defend 
the dispensing power was the Solicitor General, Heneage Finch. 
He peremptorily refused, and was turned out of office on the 
following d-dj.t The Attorney General, Sawyer, was author- 
ized to draw warrants authorising members of the Church of 
Home to hold benefices belonging to the Church of England. 
Sawyer had been deeply concerned in some of the harshest and 
most unjustifiable prosecutions of that age ; and the Whigs 
abhorred him as a man stained with the blood of Russell and Sid- 
ney : but on this occasion he showed no want of honesty or of 
resolution. " Sir," said he, " this is not merely to dispense with a 
statute : it is to annul the whole statute law from the accession of 
Elizabeth- to the present day. I dare not do it ; and I implore 
Your Majesty to consider whether such an attack upon the rights 
of the Church be in accordance with your late gracious promises. "§ 
Sawyer would have been instantly dismissed, as Finch had been, 
if the government could have found a successor : but this was 
no easy matter. It was necessary, for the protection of the 
rights of the Crown, that one at least of the Crown lawyers 
should be a man of learning, ability, and experience ; and no 
such man was willing to defend the dispensing power. The 
Attorney General was therefore permitted to retain his place 

*Reresby's Memoirs ; Eachard, iii. 797 ; Kennet, iii. 451. 
t London Gazette, April 22 and 29, 16SG ; Barillon, April 19-29; Evelyn's 
Diary, June 2 ; Luttrell's Diary, June 8 ; Dodd's Cliurch History. 
+ North's Life of Guildford, 288. 
§ Iteretsby'si Memoirs. 


during some months. Thomas Powis, an obscure barrister, who 
had no qualification for high employment except servility, waa 
appointed Solicitor. 

The preliminary arrangements were now complete. There 
was a Solicitor General to argue for the dispensing power, and a 
bench of Judges to decide in favour of it. The question wa* 
therefore speedily brought to a hearing. Sir Edward Hales, a 
gentleman of Kent, had been converted to Popery in days when 
it was not safe for any man of note openly to declare himself a 
Papist. He had kept his secret, and, when questioned, had af 
firmed that he was a Protestant with a solemnity which did little 
credit to his principles. When James had ascended the throne, 
disguise was no longer necessary. Sir Edward publicly apos- 
tatised, and was rewarded with the command of a regiment of 
foot. He had held his commission more than three months 
without taking the sacrament. He was therefore liable to a 
penalty of five hundred pounds, which an informer might recover 
by action of debt. A menial servant was employed to bring a suit 
for this sum in the Court of King's Bench. Sir Edward did not 
dispute the facts alleged against him, but pleaded that he had 
letters patent authorising him to hold his commission notwith- 
standing the Test Act. The plaintiff demurred, that is to say, 
admitted Sir Edward's plea to be true in fact, but denied that it 
was a sufficient answer. Thus was raised a simple issue of law 
to be decided by the court. A barrister, who was notoriously 
a tool of the government, appeared for the mock plaintiff, and 
made some feeble objections to the defendant's plea. The new 
Solicitor General replied. The Attorney General took no part 
in the proceedings. Judgment was given by the Lord Chief 
Justice, Sir Edward Herbert. He announced that he had sub- 
mitted the question to all the twelve Judges, and that, in the 
opinion of eleven of them, the King might lawfully dispense 
with penal statutes in particular cases, and for special reasons 
of grave importance. The single dissentient, Baron Street, was 
not removed from his place. He was a man of morals so bad 
that his own relations shrank from him, and that the Prince of 
Orange, at the time of the Revolution, was advised not to sea 


him. The character of Street makes it impossible to believe that 
he would have been more scrupulous than his brethren. The 
character of James makes it impossible to believe that a refrac- 
tory Baron of the Exchequer would have been permitted to retain 
his post. There can, therefore, be no reasonable doubt that the 
dissenting Judge was, like the plaintiff and the plaintiff's counsel, 
acting collusively. It was important that there shouid be a great 
preponderance of authority in favor of the dispensing power ; 
yet it was important that the bench, which had been carefully 
packed for the occasion, should appear to be independent. One 
Judge, therefore, the least respectable of the twelve, was per- 
mitted, or more probably commanded, to give his voice against 
the prerogative. # 

The power which the courts of law had thus recognised was 
not suffered to lie idle. Within a month after the decision of 
the King's Bench had been pronounced, four Roman Catholic 
Lords were sworn of the Privy Council. Two of them, Powis 
and Bellasyse, were of the moderate party, and probably took 
their seats with reluctance and with many sad forebodings. The 
other two, Arundell and Dover, had no such misgivings.! 

The dispensing power was, at the same time, employed for 
the purpose of enabling Roman Catholics to hold ecclesiastical 
preferment. The new Solicitor readily drew the warrants in 
which Sawyer had refused to be concerned. One of these war- 
rants was in favour of a wretch named Edward Sclater, who had 
two livings which he was determined to keep through all changes. 
He administered the sacrament to his parishioners according to 
the rites of the Church of England on Palm Sunday 1686. On 
Easter Sunday, only seven days later, he was at mass. The 
royal dispensation authorised him to retain the emoluments of 
his benefices- To the remonstrances of the patrons from whom 
he had received his preferment he replied in terms of insolent 
defiance, and, while the Roman Catholic cause prospered, put 

* See the account of the case in the Collection of State Trials ; Van Citters, 
May 4-14, ^ q ° e2g ' 1686 ; Evelyn's Diary, June 27 ; Luttrell's Diary, June 21. As 

July 2, 

to Street, see Clarendon's Diary, Dec. 27, 1G88. 
t London Gazette, July 19, 1686. 


forth an absurd treatise in defence of his apostasy. But, a very- 
few weeks after the Revolution, a great congregation assembled 
at St. Mary's in the Savoy, to see him received again into the 
bosom of the Church which he had deserted. He read his re- 
cantation with tears flowing from his eyes, and pronounced a 
bitter invective against the Popish priests whose arts had seduced 

Scarcely less infamous was the conduct of Obadiah Walker. 
He was an aged priest of the Church of England, and was well 
known in the University of Oxford as a man of learning. He 
had in the late reign been suspected of leaning towards Popery, 
but had outwardly conformed to the established religion, and 
had at length been chosen Master of University College. Soon 
after the accession of James, Walker determined to throw off 
the disguise which he had hitherto 'worn. He absented himself 
from the public worship of the Church of England, and, with 
some fellows and undergraduates whom he had perverted, heard 
mass daily in his own apartments. One of the first acts performed 
by the new Solicitor General was to draw up an instrument 
which authorised Walker and his proselytes to hold their bene- 
fices, notwithstanding their apostasy. Builders were immediate- 
ly employed to turn two sets of rooms into an oratory. In a 
few weeks the Roman Catholic rites were publicly performed in 
University College. A Jesuit was quartered there as chaplain. 
A press was established there under royal license for the print- 
ing of Roman Catholic tracts. During two years and a half, 
Walker continued to make war on Protestantism with all the 
rancour of a renegade : but when fortune turned he showed that 
he wanted the courage of a martyr. He was brought to the bar 
of the House of Commons to answer for his conduct, and was 
base enough to protest that he had never changed his religion, 
that he had never cordially approved of the doctrines of the 
Church of Rome, and that he had never tried to bring any other 

* The letters patent are in Glitch's Collectanea Curiosa. The date is the 3d of 
May, 1686. See Sclater's Consensus Veterum ; Gee's reply, entitled Veteres 
Vindicati ; Dr. Anthony Horneck's account of Mr. Sclater's recantation of the 
errors of Popery on the 5th of May, 1689 ; Dodd's Church History, part viii. book 
ii. art. 3. 


person within the pale of that Church. It was hardly worth 
while to violate the most sacred obligations of law and of plighted 
faith, for the purpose of making such converts as these.* 

In a short time the King went a step further. Sclater and 
Walker had only been permitted to keep, after they became 
Papists, the preferment which had been bestowed on them 
while they passed for Protestants. To confer a high office in 
the Established Church on an avowed enemy of that Church 
was a far bolder violation of the laws and of the royal word. 
But no course was too bold for James. The Deanery of 
Christchurch became vacant. That office was, both in dignity 
and in emolument, one of the highest in the University of 
Oxford. The Dean was charged with the government of a 
greater number of youths of high connections and of great 
hopes than could be found in any other college. He was also 
the head of a Cathedral. In both characters it was necessary 
that he should be a member of the Church of England. Never- 
theless John Massey, who was notoriously a member of the 
Church of Rome, and who had not one single recommendation, 
except that he was a member of the Church of Rome, was 
appointed by virtue of the dispensing power ; and soon, within 
the walls of Christchurch, an altar was decked, at which mass 
was daily celebrated.! To the Nuncio the King said that what 
had been done at Oxford should very soon be done at Cambridge, t 

Yet even this was a small evil compared with that which 
Protestants had good ground to apprehend. It seemed but too 
probable that the whole government of the Anglican Church 
would shortly pass into the hands of her deadliest enemies. 
Three important sees had lately become vacant, that of York, 
that of Chester, and that of Oxford. The Bishopric of Oxford 
was e;iven to Samuel Parker, a parasite, whose religion, if he 
had any religion, was that of Rome, and who called himself a 
Protestant only because he was encumbered with a wife. " I 

* Gutoh's Collectanea Curiosa ; Dodd, viii. ii. 3 ; Wood, Ath. Ox. ; Ellis Cor- 
respondence, Feb. 27, 1686 ; Commons' Journals, Oct. 26, 1689. 

t Gutch's Collectanea Curiosa ; Wood's Athenae Oxonienses ; Dialogic be- 
tween a Churchman and a Dissenter, 1689. 

t Adda, July 9-19, 1686. 


wished," the King said to Adda, "to appoint an avowed Catholic ; 
but the time is not come. Parker is well inclined to us : he is 
one of us in feeling ; and by degrees he will bring round his 
clergy." # The Bishopric of Chester, vacant by the death of 
John Pearson, a great name both in philology and in divinity, 
was bestowed on Thomas Cartwright, a still viler sycophant than 
Parker. The Archbishopric of York remained several years 
vacant. As no good reason could be found for leaving so im- 
portant a place unfilled, men suspected that the nomination 
was delayed only till the King could venture to place the mitre 
on the head of an avowed Papist. It is indeed highly probable 
that the Church of England was saved from this outrage solely 
by the good sense and good feeling of the Pope. Without a 
special dispensation from Rome no Jesuit could be a Bishop ; 
and Innocent could not be induced to grant such a dispensation 
to Petre. 

James did not even make any secret of his intention to exert 
vigorously and systematically for the destruction of the Estab- 
lished Church all the powers which he possessed as her head. 
He plainly said that, by a wise dispensation of Providence, the 
Act of Supremacy would be the means of healing the fatal 
breach which it had caused. Henry and Elizabeth had usurped 
a dominion which rightfully belonged to the Holy See. That 
dominion had, in the course of succession, descended to an 
orthodox prince, and would be held by him in trust for the 
Holy See. He was authorised by law to repress spiritual 
abuses ; and the first spiritual abuse which he would repress 
should be the liberty which the Anglican clergy assumed of 
defending their own religion and of attacking the doctrines of 

* Adda, Jul ^ 1686. 
Aug. 9, 

t " Ce prince m'a dit que Dieu avoit permis que toutes lcs loix qui ont die 
faites pour etablir la religion Protestante, et detruire la religion Catholique, 
servent presentement de fondement a ce qu'il veut faire pour l'6tablissement do 
la vraie religion, et le mettent en droit d'exercer un pouvoir encore plus grand 
que celui qu'ont les rois Catholiques sur les affaires ecclesiastiques dans les 
autres pays."— Barillon, July 12-22, 1686. To Adda His Majesty said, a few days 
later, " Chel'autorita concessale dal parlamento sopraTEcclesiastico senza alcun 
limite con fine contrario fosse adesso per servire al vanlaggio de'medcsimi Cat- 

toiid." ? u] y g '. 

Au S . 2. 


But he was met by a great difficulty. The ecclesiastical su- 
premacy which had devolved on him was by no means the same 
great and terrible prerogative which Elizabeth, James the First, 
and Charles the First had possessed. The enactment which 
annexed to the crown an almost boundless visitatorial authority 
over the Church, though it had never been formally repealed, 
had really lost a great part of its force. The substantive law 
remained ; but it remained unaccompanied by any formidable 
sanction or by any efficient system of procedure, and was there- 
fore little more than a dead letter. 

The statute, which restored to Elizabeth the spiritual domin- 
ion assumed by her father and resigned by her sister, contained 
a clause authorising the sovereign to constitute a tribunal which 
might investigate, reform, and punish all ecclesiastical delinquen- 
cies. Under the authority given by this clause the Court of 
High Commission was created. That court was, during many 
years, the terror of Nonconformists, and, under the harsh ad- 
ministration of Laud, became an object of fear and hatred even 
to those who most loved the Established Church. When the 
Long Parliament met, the High Commission was generally re- 
garded as the most grievous of the many grievances under which 
the nation laboured. An Act was therefore somewhat hastily 
passed, which not only took away from the Crown the power of 
appointing visitors to superintend the Church, but abolished all 
ecclesiastical courts without distinction. 

After the Restoration, the Cavaliers who filled the House 
of Commons, zealous as they were for the prerogative, still 
remembered with bitterness the tyranny of the High Commission, 
and were by no means disposed to revive an institution so odi- 
ous. They at the same time thought, and with reason, that 
the statute which had swept away all the courts Christian of 
the realm, without providing any substitute, was open to grave 
objection. They accordingly repealed that statute, with the ex- 
ception of the part which related to the High Commission. 
Thus, the Archidiaconal Courts, the Consistory Courts, the Court 
of Arches, the Court of Peculiars, and the Court of Delegates were 
revived : but the enactment by which Elizabeth and her successors 


had been empowered to appoint Commissioners with visitatorial 
authority over the Church was not only not revived, but was 
declared, with the utmost strength of language, to be completely 
abrogated. It is therefore as clear as any point of constitution- 
al law can be that James the Second was not competent to ap- 
point a Commission with power to visit and govern the Church 
of England.* But, if this were so, it was to little purpose that 
the Act of Supremacy, in high sounding words, empowered him 
to amend what was amiss in that Church. Nothing but a 
machinery as stringent as that which the Long Parliament had 
destroyed could force the Anglican ciergy to become his agents 
for the destruction of the Anglican doctrine and discipline. He 
therefore, as early as the month of April 1686, determined to 
revive the Court of High Commission. This design was not 
immediately executed. It encountered the opposition of every 
minister who was not devoted to France and to the Jesuits. 
It was regarded by lawyers as an outrageous violation of the 
law, and by Churchmen as a direct attack upon the Church. 
Perhaps the contest might have lasted longer, but for an event 
which wounded the pride and inflamed the rage of the King. 
He had, as supreme ordinary, put forth directions, charging the 
clergy of the establishment to abstain from touching in their 
discourses on controverted points of doctrine. Thus, while 
sermons in defence of the Roman Catholic religion were preach- 
ed on every Sunday and holiday within the precincts of the 
royal palaces, the Church of the state, the Church of the great 
majority of the nation, was forbidden to explain and vindicate her 
own principles. The spirit of the whole clerical order rose against 
this injustice. William Sherlock, a divine of distinguished abilities, 
who had written with sharpness against Whigs and Dissenters, and 
had had been rewarded by the government with the Mastership of 
the Temple and with a pension, was one of the first who in- 
curred the royal displeasure. His pension was stopped ; and 

* The whole question is lucidly and unanswerably argued in a little contem- 
porary tract, entitled " The King's Power in Matters Ecclesiastical fairly stated." 
Bee also a concise but forcible argument by Archbishop Sancroft, Doyly's Life 
of Sancroft, i. 92. 


he was severely reprimanded.* John Sharp, Dean of Nor- 
wich and Rector of Saint Giles's in the Fields, soon gave still 
greater offence. He was a man of learning and fervent 
piety, a preacher of great fame, and an exemplary parish 
priest. In politics he was, like most of his brethren, a Tory, 
and had just been appointed one of the royal chaplains. He 
received an anonymous letter which purported to come from 
one of his parishioners, who had been staggered by the argu- 
ments of Roman Catholic theologians, and who was anxious to 
be satisfied that the Church of England was a branch of the 
true Church of Christ. No divine, not utterly lost to all ssnse 
of religious duty and of professional honour, could refuse to an- 
swer such a call. On the following Sunday Sharp delivered an 
animated discourse against the high pretensions of the see of 
Rome. Some of his expressions were exaggerated, distorted, 
and carried by talebearers to Whitehall. It was falsely said that 
he had spoken with contumely of the theological disquisitions 
which had been found in the strong box of the late King, and 
which the present King had published. Compton, the Bishop of 
London, received orders from Sunderland to suspend Sharp till 
the royal pleasure should be further known. The Bishop was 
in great perplexity. His recent conduct in the House of Lords 
had given deep offence to the Court. Already his name had been 
struck out of the list of Privy Councillors. Already he had 
been dismissed from his office in the royal chapel. He was un- 
willing to give fresh provocation ; but the act which he was di- 
rected to perform was a judicial act. He felt that it was unjust, 
and he was assured by the best advisers that it was also illegal, 
to inflict punishment without giving any opportunity for defence. 
He accordingly, in the humblest terms, represented his difficulties 
to the King, and privately requested Sharp not to appear in the 
pulpit for the present. Reasonable as were Compton's scruples, 
obsequious as were his apologies, James was greatly incensed. 
What insolence to plead either natural justice or positive law 
in opposition to an express command of the Sovereign ! Sharp 
was forgotten. The Bishop became a mark for the whole veu- 
* Letter from James to Clarendon, Feb. 18, 168 5-6. 


geance of the government. * The King felt more painfully than 
ever the want of that tremendous engine which had once coerced 
refractory ecclesiastics. He probably knew that, for a few an- 
gry words uttered against his father's government, Bishop Wil- 
liams had been suspended by the High Commission from all 
ecclesiastical dignities and functions. The design of reviving that 
formidable tribunal was pushed on more eagerly than ever. In 
July, London was alarmed by the news that the King had, in 
direct defiance of two Acts of Parliament drawn in the strongest 
terms, entrusted the whole government of the Church to seven 
Commissioners.! The words in which the jurisdiction of these 
officers was described were loose, and might be stretched to 
almost any extent. All colleges and grammar schools, even those 
which had been founded by the liberality of private benefactors, 
were placed under the authority of the new board. All who 
depended for bread on situations in the Church or in academical 
institutions, from the Primate down to the youngest curate, 
from the Vicechancellors of Oxford and Cambridge down to 
the humblest pedagogue who taught Corderius, were subjected 
to this despotic tribunal. If any one of those many thousands 
was suspected of doing or saying anything distasteful to the 
government, the Commissioners might cite him before them. 
In their mode of dealing with him they were fettered by no 
rule. They were themselves at once prosecutors and judges. 
The accused party was to be furnished with no copy of the 
charge. He was to be examined and crossexamined. If his 
answers did not give satisfaction, he was liable to be suspended 
from his office, to be ejected from it, to be pronounced incapable 
of holding any preferment in future. If he were contumacious, 
he might be excommunicated, or, in other words, be deprived of 
all civil rights and imprisoned for life. He might also, at the 
discretion of the court, be loaded with all the costs of the pro- 

* The best account of these transactions is in the Life of Sharp, by his son. 

■wr ^•ij. June 20, -tnot* 

\an Otters, ,--,--'- 1686 - 

July 9, 

t Barillon, JLSlZ^k, 168G. Van Citters, July 1C-2C ; Privy Council Book, July 

Aug. 1 i j 

17; Ellis Correspondence, July 17 ; Evelyn's Diary, July 14 ; Luttrell's Diary, 
August 5, 6. 


ceeding by which he had been reduced to beggary. No appeal 
was given. The Commissioners were directed to execute their 
office notwithstanding any law which might be, or might seem to 
be, inconsistent with these regulations. Lastly, lest any person 
should doubt that it was intended to revive that terrible court 
from which the Long Parliament had freed the nation, the new 
Visitors were directed to use a seal bearing exactly the same 
device and the same superscription with the seal of the old High 

The chief Commissioner was the Chancellor. His presence 
and assent were declared necessary to every proceeding. All 
men knew how unjustly, insolently, and barbarously he had 
acted in courts where he had been, to a certain extent, restrained 
by the known laws of England. It was, therefore, not dillicult 
to foresee how he would conduct himself in a situation in which 
he was at entire liberty to make forms of procedure and rules 
of evidence for himself. 

Of the other six Commissioners three were prelates and 
three laymen. The name of Archbishop Sancroft stood first. 
But he was fully convinced that the court was illegal, that all 
its judgments would be null, and that by sitting in it he should 
incur a serious responsibility. He therefore determined not to 
comply with the royal mandate. He did not, however, act on 
this occasion with that courage and sincerity which he showed 
when driven to extremity two years later. He begged to be 
excused on the plea of business and ill health. The other 
members of the board, he added, were men of too much ability 
to need his assistance. These disingenuous apologies ill became 
the Primate of all England at such a crisis ; nor did they avert 
the royal displeasure. Sancroft's name was not indeed struck 
out of the list of Privy Councillors : but, to the bitter mortifica- 
tion of the friends of the Church, he was no longer summoned 
on Council days. " If," said the King, ik he is too sick or too 

* The device was a rose and crown. Before the device was the initial letter 
of the Sovereign's name ; after it the letter R. Round the seal was this inscrip- 
tion, " Sigillum eoinmissariorum regime majestatis ad causas ecclesiasticas." 


busy to go to the Commission, it is a kindness to relieve him 
from attendance at Council." * 

The government found no similar difficulty with Nathaniel 
Crewe, Bishop of the great and opulent see of Durham, a man 
nobly born, and raised so high in his profession that he could 
scarcely wish to rise higher, but mean, vain, and cowardly. 
He had been made Dean of the Chapel Royal when the Bishop 
of London was banished from the palace. The honor of being an 
Ecclesiastical Commissioner turned Crewe's head. It was to no 
purpose that some of his friends represented to him the risk 
which he ran by sitting in an illegal tribunal. He was not 
ashamed to answer that he could not live out of the royal smile, 
and exultingly expressed his hope that his name would appear 
in history, a hope which has not been altogether disappointed.! 

Thomas Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, was the third clerical 
Commissioner. He was a man to whose talents posterity has 
scarcely done justice. Unhappily for his fame, it has been usual 
to print his verses in collections of the British poets ; and those 
who judge of him by his verses must consider him as a servile 
imitator, who, without one spark of Cowley's admirable genius, 
mimicked whatever was least commendable in Cowley's manner : 
but those who are acquainted with Sprat's prose writings will 
form a very different estimate of his powers. He was indeed a 
great master of our language, and possessed at once the eloquence 
of the preacher, of the controversialist, and of the historian. His 
moral character might have passed with little censure had he 
belonged to a less sacred profession ; for the worst that can be 
said of him is that he was indolent, luxurious, and worldly : but 
such failings, though not commonly regarded as very heinous in 
men of secular callings, are scandalous in a prelate. The Arch- 
bishopric of York was vacant : Sprat hoped to obtain it, and 
therefore accepted a seat at the ecclesiastical board : but he was 
too goodnatured a man to behave harshly ; and he was too 
sensible a man not to know that he might at some future time 
be called to a serious account by a Parliament. He therefore, 

* Append to Clarendon's Diary ; Van Citters, Oct. 8-18, 1686 ; Barillon, Oct. 
11-21 ; Doyly's Life of Sancroft. t Burnet, i. 676. 


though he consented to act, tried to do as little mischief, and to 
make as few enemies, as possible.* 

The three remaining Commissioners were the Lord Treasurer, 
the Lord President, and the Chief Justice of the King's Bench. 
Rochester, disapproving and murmuring, consented to serve. 
Much as he had to endure at the Court, he could not bear to quit it. 
Much as he loved the Church, he could not bring himself to 
sacrifice for her sake his white staff, his patronage, his salary of 
eight thousand pounds a year, and the far larger indirect emol- 
uments of his office. He excused his conduct to others, and 
perhaps to himself, by pleading that, as a Commissioner, he 
might be able to prevent much evil, and that, if he refused to 
act, some person less attached to the Protestant religion would 
be found to fill the vacant place. Sunderland was the repre- 
sentative of the Jesuitical cabal. Herbert's recent decision on the 
question of the dispensing power seemed to prove that he would 
not flinch from any service which the King might require. 

As soon as the Commission had been opened, the Bishop of 
London was cited before the new tribunal. He appeared. " I 
demand of you," said Jeffreys, " a direct and positive answer. 
Why did not you suspend Dr. Sharp ? " 

The Bishop requested a copy of the commission in order 
that he might know by what authority he was thus interrogated. 
" If vou mean," said Jeffreys, " to dispute our authority, I 
shall take another course with you. As to the Commission, I 
do not doubt that you have seen it. At all events you may 
see it in any coffeehouse for a penny." The insolence of the 
Chancellor's reply appears to have shocked the other Commis- 
sioners ; and he was forced to make some awkward apologies. 
He then returned to the point from which he had started. 
" This," he said, " is not a court in which written charges are 
exhibited. Our proceedings are summary, and by word of 
mouth. The question is a plain one. Why did you not obey 
the King?" With some difficulty Compton obtained a brief 
delay, and the assistance of counsel. When the case had been 
heard, it was evident to all men that the Bishop had done only 
* Burnet, i. G75, ii. C29 ; Sprat's Letters to Dorset. 


what he was bound to do. The Treasurer, the Chief Justice, 
and Sprat were for acquittal. The King's wrath was moved. 
It seemed that his Ecclesiastical Commission would fail him as 
his Tory Parliament had failed him. He offered Rochester a 
simple choice, to pronounce the Bishop guilty, or to quit the 
Treasury. Rochester was base enough to yield. Compton 
was suspended from all spiritual functions ; and the charge of 
his great diocese was committed to his judges, Sprat and Crewe. 
He continued, however, to reside in his palace and to receive 
his revenues ; for it was known that, had any attempt been made 
to deprive him of his temporalities, he would have put himself 
under the protection of the common law ; and Herbert himself 
declared that, at common law, judgment must be given against 
the crown. This consideration induced the King to pause. 
Only a few weeks had elapsed since he had packed the courts 
of Westminster Hall in order to obtain a decision in favour of 
his dispensing power. He now found that, unless he packed 
them again, he should not be able to obtain a decision in favour 
of the proceedings of his Ecclesiastical Commission. He de- 
termined, therefore, to postpone for a short time the confisca- 
tion of the freehold property of refractory clergymen. * 

The temper of the nation was indeed such as might well 
make him hesitate. During some months discontent had been 
steadily and rapidly increasing. The celebration of the Roman 
Catholic worship had long been prohibited by Act of Parlia- 
ment. During several generations no Roman Catholic clergy- 
man had dared to exhibit himself in. any public place with the 
badges of his office. Against the regular clergy, and against 
the restless and subtle Jesuits by name, had been enacted a 
succession of rigorous statutes. Every Jesuit who set foot in 
this country was liable to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. A 
reward was offered for his detection. He was not allowed to take 
advantage of the general rule, that men are not bound to accuse 
themselves. Whoever was suspected of being a Jesuit might 
be interrogated, and, if he refused to answer, might be sent to 

* Burnet, i. 677 ; Barillon, Sept. 6-16, 1686. The public proceedings are in the 
Collection of State Trials. 

Vol. II. — 7 


prison for life.* These laws, though they had not, except 
when there was supposed to be some peculiar danger, been 
strictly executed, and though they had never prevented Jesuits 
from resorting to England, had made disguise necessary. But 
all disguise was now thrown off. Injudicious members of the 
King's Church, encouraged by him, took a pride in defying 
statutes which were still of undoubted validity, and feelings 
which had a stronger hold of the national mind than at any 
former period. Roman Catholic chapels rose all over the 
country. Cowls, girdles of ropes, and strings of beads constant- 
ly appeared in the streets, and astonished a population, the 
oldest of whom had never seen a conventual garb except on the 
stage. A convent rose at Clerkenwell,on the site of the ancient 
cloister of Saint John. The Franciscans occupied a mansion in 
Lincoln's Inn Fields. The Carmelites were quartered in the 
City. A society of Benedictine monks was lodged in Saint 
James's Palace. In the Savoy a spacious house, including a 
church and a school, was built for the Jesuits. t The skill and 
care with which those fathers had, during several generations, 
conducted the education of youth, had drawn forth reluctant 
praises from the wisest Protestants. Bacon had pronounced 
the mode of instruction followed in the Jesuit colleges to be 
the best yet known in the world, and had warmly expressed his 
regret that so admirable a system of intellectual and moral dis- 
cipline should be employed on the side cf error. £ It was not 
improbable that the new academy in the Savoy might, under 
royal patronage, prove a .formidable rival to the great founda- 
tions of Eton, Westminster, and Winchester. Indeed, soon 
after the school was opened, the classes consisted of four hun- 
dred boys, about one half of whom were Protestants. The 
Protestant pupils were not required to attend mass : but there 
could be no doubt that the influence of able preceptors, devoted 
to the Roman Catholic Church, and versed in all the arts which 

* 27 Eliz. c. 2 ; 2 Jac. I. c. 34 ; Jac. I. c. 5. 

f Life of James the Second, ii. 79, 8b, OrJ». Mein. 
t De Augmentis, i. vi. 4. 


win the confidence and affection of youth, would make many 

These things produced great excitement among the popu- 
lace, which is always more moved by what impresses the senses 
than by what is addressed to the reason. Thousands of rude 
and ignorant men, to whom the dispensing power and the Eccle- 
siastical Commission were words without a meaning, saw 
with dismay and indignation a Jesuit college rising on the 
banks of the Thames, friars in hoods and gowns walking in 
the Strand, and crowds of devotees pressing in at the doors 
of temples where homage was paid to graven images. Riots 
broke out in several parts of the country. At Coventry and 
Worcester the Roman Catholic worship was violently interrupt- 
ed.* At Bristol the rabble, countenanced, it was said, by the 
magistrates, exhibited a profane and indecent pageant, in which 
the Virgin Mary was represented by a buffoon, and in which a 
mock host was carried in procession. Soldiers were called out 
to disperse the mob. The mob, then and ever since one of the 
fiercest in the kingdom, resisted. Blows were exchanged, and seri- 
ous hurts inflicted.f The agitation was great in the capital, 
and greater in the City, properly so called, than at Westminster. 
For the people of Westminster had been accustomed to see 
among them the private chapels of Roman Catholic Ambas- 
sadors : but the City had not, within living memory, been pol- 
luted by any idolatrous exhibition. Now, however, the resident 
of the Elector Palatine, encouraged by the King, fitted up a 
chapel in Lime Street. The heads of the corporation, though 
men selected for office on account of their known Toryism, 
protested against this proceeding, which, as they said, the ablest 
gentlemen of the long robe regarded as illegal. The Lord 
Mayor was ordered to appear before the Privy Council. " Take 
heed what you do," said the King. " Obey me ; and do not 
trouble yourself either about gentlemen of the long robe or 
gentlemen of the short robe." The Chancellor took up the 
word, and reprimanded the unfortunate magistrate with the 

* Van Citters, May 14-24, 1R86. 

t Van Citters, May 18-28, 1686 ; Adda, May 19-29. 


genuine eloquence of the old Bailey bar. The chapel was 
opened. All the neighbourhood was soon in commotion. Great 
crowds assembled in Cheapside to attack the new mass house. 
The priests were insulted. A crucifix was taken out of the 
building and setup on the parish pump. The Lord Mayor came 
to quell the tumult, but was received with cries of " No wooden 
gods." The trainbands were ordered to disperse the crowd: 
but the trainbands shared in the popular feeling ; and murmurs 
were heard from the ranks : " We cannot in conscience fight 
for popery." * 

The Elector Palatine was, like James, a sincere and zealous 
Catholic, and was, like James, the ruler of a Protestant people ; 
but the two princes resembled each other little in temper and 
understanding. The Elector had promised to respect the rights 
of the Church which he found established in his dominions. 
He had strictly kept his word, and had not suffered himself to be 
provoked to any violence by the indiscretion of preachers who, 
in their antipathy to his faith, occasionally forgot the respect 
which they owed to his person. f He learned, with concern, 
that great offence had been given to the people of London by 
the injudicious act of his representative, and, much to his hon- 
our declared that he would forego the privilege to which, as a 
sovereign prince, he was entitled, rather than endanger the peace 
of a great city. " I, too," he wrote to James, " have Protest- 
ant subjects ; and I know with how much caution and delicacy 
it is necessary that a Catholic prince so situated should act." 
James, instead of expressing gratitude for this humane and con- 
siderate conduct, turned the letter into ridicule before the for- 
eign ministers. It was determined that the Elector should have 
a chapel in the City whether he would or not, and that, if the 
trainbands refused to do their duty, their place should be sup- 
plied by the Guards. $ 

* Ellis Correspondence. April [27, 168G ; Barillon, April 19-29 ; Van Citters, 
April 20-30 ; Privy Council Book, March 26 ; Luttrell's Diary ; Adda, -£^~ 
M "- M -' April 2-12, APL". 

Apr 5, V May 3. 

t Burnet's Travels. % Barillon, jiL. 1686. 


The effect of these disturbances on trade was serious. The 
Dutch minister informed the States General that the business 
of the Exchange was at a stand. The Commissioners of the 
Customs reported to the King that, during the month which 
followed the opening of the Lime Street Chapel, the receipt 
in the port of the Thames had fallen off by some thousands of 
pounds.* Several Aldermen, who, though zealous royalists 
appointed under the new charter, were deeply interested in 
the commercial prosperity of their city, and loved neither 
Popery nor martial law, tendered their resignations. But the 
King was resolved not to yield. He formed a camp on Houn- 
slow Heath, and collected there, within a circumference of about 
two miles and a half, fourteen battalions of foot and thirty-two 
squadrons of horse, amounting to thirteen thousand lighting men. 
Twenty-six pieces of artillery, and many wains laden with arms 
and ammunition, were dragged from the Tower through the 
City to Hounslow.f The Londoners saw this great force as- 
sembled in their neighbourhood with a terror which familiarity 
soon diminished. A visit to Hounslow became their favourite 
amusement on holidays. The camp presented the appearance 
of a vast fair. Mingled with the musketeers and dragoons, a 
multitude of fine gentlemen and ladies from Soho Square, 
sharpers and painted women from Whitefriars, invalids in 
sedans, monks in hoods and gowns, lacqueys in rich liveries, ped- 
lars, orange girls, mischievous apprentices, and gaping clowns, 
was constantly passing and repassing through the long lanes of 
tents. From some pavilions were heard the noises of drunken 
revelry, from others the curses of gamblers. In truth the place 
was merely a gay suburb of the capital. The King, as was amply 
proved two years later, had greatly miscalculated. He had for- 
gotten that vicinity operates in more ways than one. Pie had 
hoped that his army would overawe London : but the result of 

* Van Citters, *-^ 1686. 

June 4, 

t Ellis Correspondence, June 26, 1686 ; Van Citters, July 2-12 ; Luttrell's 
Diary, July 19. 


his policy was that the feelings and opinions of London took 
complete possession of his army.* 

Scarcely indeed had the encampment been formed when 
there were rumours of quarrels between the Protestant and 
Popish soldiers. | A little tract, entitled A humble and hearty 
Address to all English Protestants in the Army, had been ac- 
tively circulated through the ranks. The writer vehemently 
exhorted the troops to use their arms in defence, not of the 
mass book, but of the Bible, of the Great Charter, and of the 
Petition of Right. He was a man already under the frown of 
power. His character was remarkable, and his history not 

His name was Samuel Johnson. He was a priest of the 
Church of England, and had been chaplain to Lord Russell. 
Johnson was one of those persons who are mortally hated by 
their opponents, and less loved than respected by their allies. 
His morals were pure, his religious feelings ardent, his learning 
and abilities not contemptible, his judgment weak, his temper 
acrimonious, turbulent, and unconquerably stubborn. His pro- 
fession made him peculiarly odious to the zealous supporters of 
monarchy ; for a republican in holy orders was a strange and 
almost an unnatural bein g. During the late reign Johnson had 
published a book entitled Julian the Apostate. The object of 
this work was to show that the Christians of the fourth century 
did not hold the doctrine of nonresistance. It was easy to pro- 
duce passages from Chrysostom and Jerome written in a spirit 
very different from that of the Anglican divines who preached 
against the Exclusion Bill. Johnson, however, went further. 
He attempted to revive the odious imputation which had, for 
very obvious reasons, been thrown by Libanius on the Chris- 
tian soldiers of Julian, and insinuated that the dart which slew 

* See the contemporary poems, entitled Hounslow Heath and Caesar's Ghost ; 
Evelyn's Diary, June 2, 168G. A ballad in the Pepysian Collection contains the 
following lines :— 

"I liked the place beyond expressing, 

I ne'er saw a camp so fine. 
Not a maid in a plain dressing. 
But might taste u glass of wine." 
\ Luttrell's Diary, June 18, 1G86- 


the imperial renegade came, not from the enemy, but from 
some Rumbold or Ferguson in the Roman ranks. A hot con- 
troversy followed. Whig and Tory disputants wrangled fierce- 
ly about an obscure passage, in which Gregory of Nazianzus 
praises a pious Bishop who was going to bastinado somebody. 
The Whigs maintained that the holy man was going to bastinado 
the Emperor ; the Tories that, at the worst, he was only goino* 
to bastinado a captain of the guard. Johnson wrote a reply to 
his assailants, in which he drew an elaborate parallel between 
Julian and James, then Duke of York. Julian had, during 
many years, pretended to abhor idolatry, while in heart an 
idolater. Julian had, to serve a turn, occasionally affected re- 
spect for the rights of conscience. Julian had punished cities 
which were zealous for the true religion, by taking away their 
municipal privileges. Julian had, by his flatterers, been called 
the Just. James was provoked beyond endurance. Johnson 
was prosecuted for a libel, convicted, and condemned to a fine 
which he had no means of paying. He was therefore kept in 
gaol ; and it seemed likely that his confinement would end only 
with his life.* 

Over the room which he occupied in the King's Bench 
prison lodged another offender whose character well deserves 
to be studied. This was Hugh Speke, a young man of good 
family, but of a singularly base and depraved nature. His love 
of mischief and of dark and crooked ways amounted almost to 
madness. To cause confusion without being found out was his 
business and his pastime ; and he had a rare skill in using 
honest enthusiasts as the instruments of his coldblooded malice. 
He had attempted, by means of one of his puppets, to fasten on 
Charles and James the crime of murdering Essex in the Tower. 
On this occasion the agency of Speke had been traced ; and 
though he succeeded in throwing the greater part of the blame 
on his dupe, he had not escaped with impunity. He was now a 
prisoner ; but his fortune enabled him to live with comfort ; and 
he was under so little restraint that he was able to keep up regular 

* See the memoirs of Johnson, prefixed to the folio edition of his life, his 
Julian, and his answer to. his opponents. See also Hickes's Jovian. 


communication with one of his confederates who managed a 
secret press. 

Johnson was the very man for Speke's purposes, zealous and 
intrepid, a scholar and a practised controversialist, yet as 
simple as a child. A close intimacy sprang up between the. two 
fellow prisoners. Johnson wrote a succession of bitter and 
vehement treatises which Speke conveyed to the printer. When 
the camp was formed at Hounslow, Speke urged Johnson to 
compose an address which might excite the troops to mutiny. 
The paper was instantly drawn up. Many thousands of copies 
were struck off and brought to Speke's room, whence they were 
distributed over the whole country, and especially among the 
soldiers. A milder government than that which then ruled 
England would have been moved to high resentment by such 
a provocation. Strict search was made. A subordinate agent 
who had been employed to circulate the address saved himself 
by giving up Johnson ; and Johnson was not the man to save 
himself by giving up Speke. An information was hied, and a 
conviction obtained without difficulty. Julian Johnson, as he 
was popularly called, was sentenced to stand thrice in the pillory, 
and to be whipped from Newgate to Tyburn. The Judge, Sir 
Francis Within s, told the criminal to be thankful for the great 
lenity of the Attorney General, who might have treated the case 
as one of high treason. " I owe him no thanks," answered 
Johnson, dauntlessly. " Am I, whose only crime is that I have 
defended the Church and the laws, to be grateful for being 
scourged like a dog, while Popish scribblers are suffered daily 
to insult the Church and to violate the laws with impunity ? " 
The energy with which he spoke was such that both the Judges 
and the crown lawyers thought it necessary to vindicate them- 
selves, and to protest that they knew of no Popish publications 
such as those to which the prisoner alluded. He instantly drew 
from his pocket some Roman Catholic books and trinkets which 
were then freely exposed for sale under the royal patronage, 
read aloud the titles^of the books, and threw a rosary across^ the 
table to the King's counsel. ; " And now," he cried with a loud 
voice, " I lay this information before God, before this court, and 


before the English people. We shall soon see whether Mr. 
Attorney will do his duty." 

It was resolved that, before the punishment was inflicted, 
Johnson should be degraded from the priesthood. The prelates 
Who had been charged by the Ecclesiastical Commission with 
the care of the diocese of London cited him before them in the 
chapter house of St. Paul's Cathedral. The manner in which 
he went through the ceremony made a deep impression on many 
minds. When he was stripped of his sacred robe he exclaimed, 
" You are taking away my gown because I have tried to keep 
your gowns on your backs." The only part of the formalities 
which seemed to distress him was the plucking of the Bible out 
of his hand. He made a faint struggle to retain the sacred 
book, kissed it, and burst into tears. " You cannot," he said, 
" deprive me of the hopes which I owe to it." Some attempts 
were made to obtain a remission of the flogging. A Roman 
Catholic priest offered to intercede in consideration of a bribe 
of two hundred pounds. The money was raised ; and the priest 
did his best, but in vain. " Mr. Johnson," said the King, " has 
the spirit of a martyr; and it is fit that he should be one." 
William the Third said, a few years later, of one of the most 
acrimonious and intrepid Jacobites, " He has set his heart on 
being a martyr ; and I have set mine on disappointing him." 
These two speeches would alone suffice to explain the widely 
different fates of the two princes. 

The day appointed for the flogging came. A whip of nine 
lashes was used. Three hundred and seventeen stripes were 
inflicted ; but the sufferer never winced. He afterwards said 
that the pain was cruel, but that, as he was dragged at the tail 
of the cart, he remembered how patiently the cross had been 
borne up Mount Calvary, and was so much supported by the 
thought that, but for the fear of incurring the suspicion of vain- 
glory, he would have sung a psalm with as firm and cheerful a 
voice as if he had been worshipping God in the congregation. 
It is impossible not to wish that so much heroism had been less 
alloyed by intemperance and intolerance. * 

* Life of Johnson, prefixed to his works ; Secret History of the happy Revo- 


Among the clergy of the Church of England Johnson found 
no sympathy. He had attempted to justify rebellion : he had 
even hinted approbation of regicide ; and they still, in spite of 
much provocation, clung to the doctrine of nonresistance. But 
they saw with alarm and concern the progress of what they con^ 
sidered as a noxious superstition, and, while they abjured all 
thought of defending their religion by the sword, betook them- 
selves manfully to weapons of a different kind. To preach 
against the errors of Popery was not regarded by them as a point 
of duty and a point of honour. The London clergy, who were 
then inabilities and influence decidedly at the head of their pro- 
fession, set an example which was bravely followed by their 
ruder brethren all over the country. Had only a few bold men 
taken this freedom, they would probably have been at once cited 
before the Ecclesiastical Commission ; but it was hardly possible 
to punish an offence which was committed every Sunday by 
thousands of divines, from Berwick to Penzance. The presses 
of the capital, of Oxford, and of Cambridge, never rested. The 
Act which subjected literature to a censorship did not seriously 
impede the exertions of Protestant controversialists ; for that 
Act contained a proviso in favour of the two Universities, and 
authorised the publication of theological works licensed by the 
Archbishop of Canterbury. It was therefore out of the power 
of the government to sileuce the defenders of the established re- 
ligion. They were a numerous, an intrepid, and a well appointed 
band of combatants. Among them were eloquent declaimers, 
expert dialecticians, scholars deeply read in the writings of the 
fathers and in all parts of ecclesiastical history. Some of them, 
at a later period, turned against one another the formidable 
arms which they had wielded against the common enemy, and by 
their fierce contentions and insolent triumphs brought reproach 
on the Church which they had saved. But at present they 
formed an united phalanx. In the van appeared a rank of steady 
and skilful veterans, Tillotson, Stillingfleet, Sherlock, Prideaux, 

lution, l>y Hugh Speke ; State Trials; Van Citters, -^^- 1GSG. Van Citters 

gives the host account of the trial. I have seen a broadside which confirms his 


Whitby, Patrick, Tenison, Wake. The rear was brought up by 
the most distinguished bachelors of arts who were studying for 
deacon's orders. Conspicuous amongst the recruits whom Cam- 
bridge sent to the field was a distinguished pupil of the great 
Newton, Henry Wharton, who had, a few months before, been 
senior wrangler of his year, and whose early death was soon after 
deplored by men of all parties as an irreparable loss to letters.* 
Oxford was not less proud of a youth, whose great powers, first 
essayed in this conflict, afterwards troubled the Church and the 
State during forty eventful years, Francis Atterbury. By such 
men as these every question in issue between the Papists and 
the Protestants was debated, sometimes in a popular style which 
boys and women could comprehend, sometimes with the utmost 
subtlety of logic, and sometimes with an immense display of 
learning. The pretensions of the Holy See, the authority of 
tradition, purgatory, transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the mass, 
the adoration of the host, the denial of the cup to the laity, con- 
fession, penance, indulgences, extreme unction, the invocation of 
saints, the adoration of images, the celibacy of the clergy, the 
monastic vows, the practice of celebrating public worship in a 
tongue unknown to the multitude, the corruptions of the court 
of Rome, the history of the Reformation, the characters of the 
chief Reformers, were copiously discussed. Great numbers of 
absurd legends about miracles wrought by saints and relics were 
translated from the Italian, and published as specimens of the 
priestcraft by which the greater part of Christendom had been 
fooled. Of the tracts put forth on these subjects by Anglican 
divines during the short reign of James the Second many have 
probably perished. Those which may still be found in our 
great libraries make up a mass of near twenty thousand pages. f 
The Roman Catholics did not yield the victory without a 
struggle. One of them, named Henry Hills, had been appointed 

* See the preface to Henry Wharton's Posthumous Sermons. 

t This I can attest from mv own researches. There is an excellent collection 
in the British Museum. Birch tells us, in his Life of Tillotson, that Archbishop 
"Wake had not been able to form even a perfect catalogue of all the tracts pub- 
lished in this controversy. 


printer to the royal household and chapel, and had been placed 
by the King at the head of a great office in London from which 
theological tracts came forth by hundreds. Obadiah Walker's 
press was not less active at Oxford. But, with the exception of 
some bad translations of Bossuet's admirable works, these es- 
tablishments put forth nothing of the smallest value. It was 
indeed impossible for any intelligent and candid Roman Catholic 
to deny that the champions of his Church were, in every talent 
and acquirement, completely overmatched. The ablest of them 
would not, on the other side, have been considered as of the third 
rate. Many of them, even when thay had something to say, 
knew not how to say it. They had been excluded by their re- 
ligion from English schools and universities ; nor had they ever, 
till the accession of James, found England an agreeable, or even 
'a safe, residence. They had therefore passed the greater part 
of their lives on the Continent, and had almost unlearned their 
mother tongue. When they preached, their outlandish accent 
moved the derision of the audience. They spelt like washer- 
women. Their diction was disfigured by foreign idioms ; and, 
when they meant to be eloquent, they imitated, as well as they 
could, what was considered as fine writing in those Italian acade- 
mies where rhetoric had then reached the last stage of corruption. 
Disputants labouring under these disadvantages would scarcely, 
even with truth on their side, have been able to make head 
against men whose style is eminently distinguished by simple 
purity and grace.* 

* Cardinal Howard spoke strongly to Burnet at Rome on this subject. Bur- 
net, i. £62. There is a curious passage to the same effect in a despatch of Baril- 
lon or Bonrepaux : but I have mislaid the reference. 

One of 1he Roman Catholic divines who engaged in this controversy, a Jesuit 
named Andrew Pulton, whom Mr. Oliver, in his biography of the Order, pro- 
nounces to have been a man of distinguished ability, very frankly owns his 
deficiencies. " A. P., bavin? been eighteen years out of his own countrv, pre- 
tends not yet to any perfection of the English expression or orthoaraphv." His 
spelling is indeed deplorable. In one of his letters wright is put for write, woed 
for would. He challenged Tenison to dispute with him in Latin, that they might 
be on equal terms. In a contemporary satire, entitled the Advice, is the follow- 
ing couplet. 

" fonrl Pulton to ho Ifishort at Bnshy's school, 
Thnt lie in print no longer play the fool." 

Another Roman Catholic, named William Clench, wrote a treatise on th« 


The situation of England in the year 168G cannot be better 
described than in the words of the French Ambassador. " The 
discontent," he wrote, " is great and general : but the fear of 
incurring still worse evils restrains all who have anything to 
lose. The King openly expresses his joy at finding himself in 
a situation to strike bold strokes. lie likes to be complimented 
on this subject. He has talked to me about it, and has assured 
me that he will not flinch. " * 

Meanwhile in other parts of the empire events of grave im- 
portance had taken place. The situation of the episcopalian 
Protestants of Scotland differed widely from that in which 
their English brethren stood. In the south of the island the 
religion of the state was the religion of the people, and had a 
strength altogether independent of the strength derived from 
the support of the government. The sincere conformists were 
far more numerous than the Papists and the Protestant Dissent- 
ers taken together. The Established Church of Scotland was 
the Church of a minority. The lowland population was gener- 
ally attached to the Presbyterian discipline. Prelacy was ab- 
horred by the great body of Scottish Protestants, both as an 
unscriptural and as a foreign institution. It was regarded by 
the disciples of Knox as a relic of the abominations of Babylon 
the Great. It painfully reminded a people proud of the memory 
of Wallace and Bruce that Scotland, since her sovereigns had 
succeeded to a fairer inheritance, had been independent in name 
only. The episcopal polity was also closely associated in the 

Pope's supremacy, and dedicated it to the Queen in Italian. The following speci- 
men of his style may suffice. " O del sagro marito fortunata consorte ! O dolce 
alleviamento d'affari alti ! O grato ristoro di pensieri noiosi, nel cui petto latteo, 
lucente specchio d'illibata matronal pudicizia, nel cui seno odorato. comeinporto 
d'nmor, si ritira il Giacomo ! o heata regia coppia ! O felice inserfo tra 1' invin- 
cibil leoni e le candide aquile ! " 

Clench's English is of a piece with his Tuscan. For example, " Peter signifies 
an inexpugnable rock, able to evacuate all the plots of hell's divan, and naufra- 
gate all the lurid designs of empoisoned heretics." 

Another Roman Catholic treatise, entitled " The Church of England truly 
represented." begins by informing us that " the ignis fatuus of reformation, which 
had grown to a comet by many acts of spoil and rapine, had been ushered into 
England, purified of the filth which it had contracted among the lakes of the 

* Barillon, July 19-29, 1G86. 


public mind with all the evils produced by twenty-five years of 
cruel and corrupt maladministration. Nevertheless this polity 
stood, though on a narrow basis and amidst fearful storms, 
tottering indeed, yet upheld by the civil magistrates, and leaning 
for support, whenever danger became serious, on the power of 
England. The records of the Scottish Parliament were thick 
set with laws denouncing vengeance on those who in any direc- 
tion strayed from the prescribed pale. By an Act passed in 
the time of Knox, and breathing his spirit, it was a high crime 
to hear mass, and the third offence was capital.* An Act re- 
cently passed, at the instance of James, made it death to preach 
in any Presbyterian conventicle whatever, and even to attend 
such a conventicle in the open air.f The Eucharist was not, 
as in England, degraded into a civil test ; but no person could 
hold any office, could sit in Parliament, or could even vote for 
a member of Parliament, without subscribing, under the sanc- 
tion of an oath, a declaration which condemned in the strongest 
terms the principles both of the Papists and of the Covenan- 
ters. $ 

In the Privy Council of Scotland there were two parties cor- 
responding to the two parties which were contending against each 
other at Whitehall. "William Douglas, Duke of Queensberry, 
was Lord Treasurer, and had, during some years, been con- 
sidered as first minister. He was nearly connected by affinity, 
by similarity of opinions, and by similarity of temper, with the 
Treasurer of England. Both were Tories : both Avere men of 
hot temper and strong prejudices : both were ready to support 
their master in any attack on the civil liberties of his people ; 
but both were sincerely attached to the Established Church. 
Queensberry had early notified to the court that, if any innova- 
tion affecting that Church were contemplated, to such innova- 
tion he could be no party. But among his colleagues were 
several men not less unprincipled than Sunderland. In truth 
the Council chamber at Edinburgh had been, during a quarter 

* Act Pari. Aug. 24, 1560 ; Dec. 15, 15G7. 

t Act Pari. May 8, 1685. % Act Pari. Aug. 31, 1681. 


of a century, a seminary of all public and all private vices ; and 
some of the politicians whose character had been formed there 
had a peculiar hardness of the heart and forehead" to which 
Westminster, even in that bad age, could hardly show anything 
quite equal. The Chancellor, James Drummond, Earl of Perth, 
and his brother, the Secretary of State, John Lord Melfort, 
were bent on supplanting Queensberry. The Chancellor had 
already an unquestionable title to the royal favour. He had 
brought into use a little steel thumbscrew which gave such ex- 
quisite torment that it had wrung confessions even out of men 
on whom His Majesty's favourite boot had been tried in vain.* 
But it was well known that even barbarity was not so sure a way 
to the heart of James as apostasy. To apostasy, therefore, Perth 
and Melfort resorted with a certain audacious baseness which no 
English statesman could hope to emulate. They declared that 
the papers found in the strong box of Charles the Second had 
converted them both to the true faith ; and they began to con- 
fess and to hear mass-t How little conscience had to do with 
Perth's change of religion he amply proved by taking to wife, 
a few weeks later, in direct defiance of the laws of the Church 
which he had just joined, a lady who was his cousin german, 
without waiting for a dispensation. When the good Pope 
learned this, he said, with scorn and indignation which well 
became him, that this was a strange sort of conversion. t But 
James was more easily satisfied. The apostates presented 
themselves at Whitehall, and there received such assurances of 
his favour, that they ventured to bring direct charges against 
the Treasurer. Those charges, however, were so evidently 
frivolous that James was forced to acquit the accused minister ; 
and many thought that the Chancellor had ruined himself by 
his malignant eagerness to ruin his rival. There were a few, 
however, who judged more correctly. Halifax, to whom Perth 
expressed some apprehensions, answered with a sneer that there 
was no danger. " Be of good cheer, my Lord : thy faith hath 
made 'Jiee whole." The prediction was correct. Perth and 
Melfort went back to Edinburgh, the real heads of the govern- 

* Burnet, i. 584. t Ibid. i. 652, 653. t Burnet, i. 678. 


ment of their country. 1 * Another member of the Scottish Privy 
Council, Alexander Stuart, Earl of Murray, the descendant 
and heir of the Regent, abjured the religion of which his il- 
lustrious ancestor had been the foremost champion, and do 
clared himself a member of the Church of Rome. Devoted 
as Queensberry had, always been to the cause of prerogative, 
he could not stand his ground against competitors who were 
willing to pay such a price for the favour of the Court. He 
had to endure a succession of mortifications and humiliations 
similar to those which, about the same time, began to embitter 
the life of his friend Rochester. Royal letters came down 
authorising Papists to hold offices without taking the test. 
The clergy were strictly charged not to reflect on the Roman 
Catholic religion in their discourses. The Chancellor took on 
himself to send the macers of the Privy Council round to the 
few printers and booksellers who could then be found in Edin- 
burgh, charging them not to publish any work without his 
license. It was well understood that this order was intended 
to prevent the circulation of Protestant treatises. One honest 
stationer told the messengers that he had in his shop a 
book which reflected in very coarse terms on Popery, and 
begged to know whether he might sell it. Thej T asked to see 
it ; and he showed them a copy of the Bible. f A cargo of 
copes, images, beads, crosses and censers arrived at Leith di- 
rected to Lord Perth. The importation of such articles had 
long been considered as illegal ; but now the officers of the 
customs allowed the superstitious garments and trinkets to 
pass.J In a short time it was known that a Popish chapel 
had been fitted up in the Chancellor's house, and that mass 
was regularly said there. The mob rose. The mansion 
where the idolatrous rites were celebrated was fiercely attacked. 
The iron bars which protected the windows were wrenched off. 
Lady Perth and some of her female friends were pelted with 
mud. One rioter was seized, and ordered by the Privy Council 
to be whipped. His fellows rescued him and beat the hangman. 
The citv was all night in confusion. The students of the Uni- 

* Burnet, i. 653. t Fountaiuhall, Jan. 28, 16S 5-6. X Ibid. Jan. 11, 168 5-6. 


versity mingled with the crowd and animated the tumult. 
Zealous burghers drank the health of the college lads and con- 
fusion to Papists, and encouraged each other to face the troops. 
The troops were already under arms. They were received 
with a shower of stones, which wounded an officer. Orders 
were given to fire ; and several citizens were killed. The dis- 
turbance was serious ; but the Drummonds, inflamed by resent- 
ment and ambition, exaggerated it strangely. Queensberry 
observed that their reports would lead any person, who had not 
witnessed what had passed, to believe that a sedition as formidable 
as that of Masaniello had been raging at Edinburgh. The 
brothers in return accused the Treasurer, not only of extenua- 
ting the crime of the insurgents, but of having himself prompted 
it, and did all in their power to obtain evidence of his guilt. 
One of the ringleaders, who had been taken, was offered a pardon 
if he would own that Queensberry had set him on ; but the same 
religious enthusiasm, which had impelled the unhappy prisoner 
to criminal violence, prevented him from purchasing his life by 
a calumny. He and several of his accomplices were hanged. 
A soldier, who was accused of exclaiming, during the affray, 
that he should like to run his sword through a Papist, was shot ; 
and Edinburgh was again quiet : but the sufferers were regard- 
ed as martyrs ; and the Popish Chancellor became an object of 
mortal hatred, which in no long time was largely gratified. 5 * 

The King was much incensed. The news of the tumult 
reached him when the Queen, assisted by the Jesuits, had just 
triumphed over Lady Dorchester and her Protestant allies. 
The malecontents should find, he declared, that the only effect 
of the resistance offered to his will was to make him more and 
more resolute.f He sent orders to the Scottish Council to 
punish the guilty with the utmost severity, and to make unspar- 
ing use of the boot.$ He pretended to be fully convinced of 

* Fountainhall, Jan. 31, and Feb. 1, 168 5-6 ; Burnet, i. 678 ; Trials of David 
Mowbray and Alexander Keith, in the Collection of State Trials ; Bonrepaux,Feb. 

t Lewis to Barillon, Feb. 18-28, 1686. 

% Fountainhall, Feb. 10 ; Wodrow, book iii. chap. x. sec. 3. "We require," 
His Majesty graciously wrote, " that you spare no legal trial by torture or other- 

Vol. II.— 8 


the Treasurer's innocence, and wrote to that minister in gracious 
words ; but the gracious words were accompanied by ungracious 
acts. The Scottish Treasury was put into commission in spite 
of the earnest remonstrances of Rochester, who probably saw 
his own fate prefigured in that of his kinsman.* Queensberry 
was, indeed, named First Commissioner, and was made Pres- 
ident of the Privy Council : but his fall, though thus broken, 
was still a fall. He was also removed from the government of 
the castle of Edinburgh, and was succeeded in that confidential 
post by the Duke of Gordon, a Roman Catholic. f 

And now a letter arrived from London, fully explaining to 
the Scottish Privy Council the intentions of the King. "What 
he wanted was that the Roman Catholics should be exempted 
from all laws imposing penalties and disabilities on account of 
nonconformity, but that the persecution of the Covenanters 
should go on without mitigation. t This scheme encountered 
strenuous opposition in the Council. Some members were un- 
willing to see the existing laws relaxed. Others, who were by 
no means averse to relaxation, felt that it would be monstrous 
to admit Roman Catholics to the highest honours of the State, 
and yet to leave unrepealed the Act which made it death to at- 
tend a Presbyterian conventicle. The answer of the board 
was, therefore, less obsequious than usual. The King in reply 
sharply reprimanded his undutiful Councillors, and ordered three 
of them, the Duke of Hamilton, Sir George Lockhart, and Gen- 
eral Drummond, to attend him at Westminster. Hamilton's 
abilities and knowledge, though by no means such as would 
have sufficed to raise an obscure man to eminence, appeared 
highly respectable in one who was premier peer of Scotland. 
Lockhart had long been regarded as one of the first jurists, logi- 
cians, and orators that his country had produced, and enjoyed 
also that sort of consideration which is derived from large pos- 
sessions ; for his estate was such as at that time very few 
Scottish nobles possessed. § He had been lately appointed 

* Bonrepaux, Feb. 18-28, 168G. 

t Fountainhall, March 11, 1GSG ; Adda, March 1-11. 

1 This letter 5* dated March 4, 1G8G. 

5 Barillou, April 19-29, 1GSG ; Burnet, i. 370. 


President of the Court of Session. Drummond, a cousin of 
Perth and Melfort, was commander of the forces in Scotland. 
He was a loose and profane man : but a sense of honour which 
his two kinsmen wanted restrained him from public apostasy. 
He lived and died, in the significant phrase of one of his coun- 
trymen, a»bad Christian, but a good Protestant.* 

James was pleased by the dutiful language which the three 
Councillors used when first they appeared before him. He spoke 
highly of them to Barillon, and particularly extolled Lockhart 
as the ablest and most eloquent Scotchman living. They soon 
proved, however, less tractable than had been expected ; and it 
was rumoured at Court that they had been perverted by the 
company which they had kept in London. Hamilton lived much 
with zealous churchmen ; and it might be feared that Lockhart, 
who was related to the Wharton family, had fallen into still 
worse society. In truth it was natural that statesmen, fresh 
from a country where opposition in any other form than that of 
insurrection and assassination had long been almost unknown, 
and where all that was not lawless fury was abject submission, 
should have been struck by the earnest and stubborn, yet sober, 
discontent which pervaded England, and should have been em- 
boldened to try the experiment of constitutional resistance to 
the royal will. They indeed declared themselves willing to grant 
large relief to the Roman Catholics ; but on two conditions ; first, 
that similar indulgence should be extended to the Calvinistic 
sectaries ; and, secondly, that the King should bind himself by a 
solemn promise not to attempt anything to the prejudice of the 
Protestant religion. 

Both conditions were highly distasteful to James. He reluc- 
tantly agreed, however, after a dispute which lasted several days, 
that some indulgence should be granted to the Presbyterians ; 
but he would by no means consent to allow them the full liberty 
which he demanded for members of his own communion, f To the 

* The words are in a letter of Johnstone of Waristoun. 

t Some words of Barillon deserve to be transcribed. They would alone suffice 
to decide a question which ignorance and party spirit have done much to perplex. 
" Cett© liberte accordee aux nonconf ormistes a faite une grande difficulty, et a 


second condition proposed by the three Scottish Councillors he 
positively refused to listen. The Protestant religion, he said, 
was false ; and he would not give any guarantee that he would 
not use his power to the prejudice of a false religion. The al- 
tercation was long, and was not brought to a conclusion satis- 
factory to either party.* 

The time fixed for the meeting of the Scottish Estates drew 
near ; and it was necessary that the three Councillors should 
leave London to attend their parliamentary duty at Edinburgh. 
On this occasion another affront was offered to Queensberry. 
In the late session he had held the office of Lord High Com- 
missioner, and had in that capacity represented the majesty of 
the absent King. This dignity, the greatest to which a Scot- 
tish noble could aspire, was now transferred to the renegade 

On the twenty-ninth of April the Parliament met at Edin- 
burgh. A letter from the King was read. He exhorted the 
Estates to give relief to his Roman Catholic subjects, and offered 
in return a free trade with England and an amnesty for political 
offences. A committee was appointed to draw up an answer. 
That committee, though named by Murray, and composed of 
Privy Councillors and courtiers, framed a reply, full indeed of 
dutiful and respectful expressions, yet clearly indicating a deter- 
mination to refuse what the King demanded. The Estates, it 
was said, would go^as far as their consciences would allow to 
meet His Majesty's washes respecting his subjects of the Roman 
Catholic religion. These expressions were far from satisfying 
the Chancellor ; yet such as they were, he was forced to content 
himself with them, and even had some difficulty in persuading 
the Parliament to adopt them. Objection was taken by some 
zealous Protestants to the mention made of the Roman Catholic 
religion. There was no such religion. There was an idolatrous 
apostasy, which the laws punished with the halter, and to which 
it did not become Christian men to give flattering titles. To 

ete debattue pendant plusieurs jours. Le Roy d'Angleterre avoit fort en vie quo 
les Calholiquea eussent seuls la liberie de l'exerciee de leur religion." April 
19-29, 168G. 

* Barillon, April 19-29.. 168G ; Cittera, April 13 23, 20-30, May 9-19. 


call such a superstition Catholic was to give up the whole ques- 
tion which was at issue between Rome and the reformed 
Churches. The offer of a free trade with England was treated 
as an insult. " Our fathers," said one orator, " sold their king 
for southern gold ; and we still lie under the reproach of that 
foul bargain. Let it not be said of us that we have sold our 
God ! " Sir John Lauder of Fountainhall, one of the Senators 
of the College of Justice, suggested the words, " the persons 
commonly called Roman Catholics." " Would you nickname 
His Majesty ? " exclaimed the Chancellor. The answer drawn 
by the committee was carried ; but a large and respectable mi- 
nority voted against the proposed words as too courtly.* It was 
remarked that the representatives of the towns were, almost to 
a man, against the government. Hitherto those members had 
been of very small account in the "Parliament, and had generally 
been considered as the retainers of powerful noblemen. They 
now showed, for the first time, an independence, a resolution, 
and a spirit of combination which alarmed the court, f 

The answer was so unpleasing to James that he did nofc 
suffer it to be printed in the Gazette. Soon he learned that a 
law, such as he wished to see passed, would not even be brought 
in. The Lords of Articles whose business was to draw up the 
Acts on which the Estates were afterwards to deliberate, were 
virtually nominated by himself. Yet even the Lords of Arti- 
cles proved refractory. When they met, the three Privy Coun- 
cillors who had lately returned from London took the lead in 
opposition to the royal will. Hamilton declared plainly that he 
could not do what was asked. Pie was a faithful and loyal sub- 
ject ; but there was a limit imposed by conscience. " Con- 
science ! " said the Chancellor : " conscience is a vague word, 
which signifies anything or nothing." Lockhart, who sate in 
Parliament as representative of the great county of Lanark, 
struck in. " If conscience," he said, " be a word without mean- 
ing, we will change it for another phrase which, I hope, means 
something. For conscience let us put the fundamental laws 
of Scotland." These words raised a fierce debate. General 

* Fountainhall, MayO, 1686. 1 Ibid. June 15, 1686. 


Drummond, who represented Perthshire, declared that he agreed 
with Hamilton and Lockhart. Most of the Bishops present 
took the same side.* 

It was plain that even in the Committee of Articles, James 
could not command a majority. He was mortified and irritated 
it the tidings. He held warm and menacing language, and 
punished some of his mutinous servants, in the hope that the 
rest would take warning. Several persons were dismissed 
from the Council board. Several were deprived of pensions, 
which formed an important part of their income. Sir George 
Mackenzie of Rosehau<di was the most distinguished victim. 
He had long held the office of Lord Advocate, and had taken 
such a part in the persecution of the Covenanters that to this 
day he holds, in the estimation of the austere and godly peas- 
antry of Scotland, a place not far removed from the unenviable 
eminence occupied by Claverhouse. The legal learning of Mac- 
kenzie was not profound : but, as a scholar, a wit, and an orator, 
he stood high in the opinion of his countrymen ; and his renown 
had spread even to the coffeehouses of London and to the clois- 
ters of Oxford. The remains of his forensic speeches prove 
him to have been a man of parts, but are somewhat disfigured by 

* Van Citters, May 11-21, 1686. Van Citters informed the States that he had 
his intelligence from a sure hand. I will transcribe part of his narrative. It is 
an amusing specimen of the pyebald dialect in which the Dutch diplomatists of 
that age corresponded. 

" Des konigs missive, boven en behalven den Hoog Commissaris aensprake, 
aen het parlement afgesonden, gelyck dat altoos gebruyekelyck is, waerby Syne 
Majesteyt nu in genere versocht hieft de mitigatie der rigoureuse of te sanglante 
wetten van het Eyck jegens het Pausdom, in het Generale Comitee des Articles 
(soo men het daer naemt) na ordre gestelt en gelesen synde, in't voteren, den 
Hertog van Hamilton onder anderen klaer uyt seyde dat hy daertoe met soude 
vcrstaen, dat hy anders genegen was den konig in alien voorval getromv te 
dienen volgens het dictamen syner conscientie : 't gene rcden gaf aen de Lord 
Cancclicr de Grave Perts te seggen dat het woort conscientie niets en beduyde, 
en alleen een individuum vagum was, waerop der Chevalier Locquard dan voider 
gingh ; wil man niet verstaen de betyckenis van het woordt conscientie, soo sal 
ik in fortioribus seggen dat wy meynen volgens de fondamentale wetten van het 

There is, in the Hind Let Loose, a curious passage to which I should have 
given no credit, but for this despatch of Van Citters. " They cannot endure so 
much as to hear of the name of conscience. One that was well acquaint with the 
Council's humour in this point told a gentleman that was going before them, 
'I beseech you, whatever y<>u do. speak nothing of conscience before the Lords, 
lorthoy cannot abide to hear that word.' " 


what he doubtless considered as Ciceronian graces, interjections 
which show more art than passion, and elaborate amplifications, 
ie which epithet rises above epithet in wearisome climax. . He 
had now, for the first time, been found scrupulous. He was, 
therefore, in spite of all his claims on the gratitude of the govern- 
ment, deprived of his office. He retired into the country, and 
soon after went up to London for the purpose of clearing him- 
self, but was refused admission to the royal presence.* While 
the King was thus trying to terrify the Lords of Articles into 
submission, the popular voice encouraged them to persist. The 
utmost exertions of the Chancellor could not prevent the national 
sentiment from expressing itself through the pulpit and the 
press. One tract, written with such boldness and acrimony that 
no printer dared to put it in type, was widely circulated in manu- 
script. The papers which appeared on the other side of the 
question had much less effect, though they were disseminated 
at the public charge, and though the Scottish defenders of the 
government were assisted by an English auxiliary of great note, 
Lestrange, who had been sent down to Edinburgh, and lodged 
in Holyrood House, f 

At length, after three weeks of debate, the Lords of Articles 
came to a decision. They proposed merely that Roman Catho- 
lics should be permitted to worship God in private houses 
without incurring any penalty ; and it soon appeared that, far 
as this measure was from coming up to the King's demands and 
expectations, the Estates either would not pass it at all, or 
would pass it with great restrictions and modifications. 

While the contest lasted the anxiety in London was intense. 
Every report, every line, from Edinburgh was eagerly devoured. 
One day the story ran that Hamilton had given way, and that 
the government would carry every point. Then came intelli- 
gence that the opposition had rallied and was more obstinate 
than ever. At the most critical moment, orders were sent to 
the post-office that the bags from Scotland should be transmitted 
to Whitehall. During a whole week, not a single private letter 

* FouiitainJiall, May 17, 1686. t Wodrow, III. x. 3. 


from beyond the Tweed was delivered in London. In our age, 
such an interruption of communication would throw the whole 
island into confusion : but there was then so little trade and 
correspondence between England and Scotland that the incon- 
venience was probably much smaller than has often been 
occasioned in our own time by a short delay in the arrival of 
the Indian mail. While the ordinary channels of information 
were thus closed, the crowd in the galleries of Whitehall observed 
with attention the countenances of the King and his ministers. 
It was noticed, with great satisfaction, that, after every express 
from the North, the enemies of the Protestant religion looked 
more and more gloomy. At length, to the general joy, it was 
announced that the struggle was over, that the government had 
been unable to carry its measures, and that the Lord High 
Commissioner had adjourned the Parliament.* 

If James had not been proof to all warning, these events 
would have sufficed to warn him. A few months before this 
time, the most obsequious of English Parliaments had refused 
to submit to his pleasure. But the most obsequious of English 
Parliaments might be regarded as an independent and even 
as a mutinous assembly when compared with any Parliament 
that had ever sate in Scotland ; and the servile spirit of Scottish 
Parliaments was always to be found in the highest perfection, 
extracted and condensed, among the Lords of Articles. Yet 
even the Lords of Articles had been refractory. It was plain 
that all those classes, all those institutions, which, up to this 
year, had been considered as the strongest supports of mon- 
archical power, must, if the King persisted in his insane policy, 
be reckoned as parts of the strength of the opposition. All these 
signs, however, were lost upon him. To every expostulation 
he had one answer : he would never give way ; for concession 
had ruined his father ; and his unconquerable firmness was 
loudly applauded by the French embassy and by the Jesuitical 

He now proclaimed that he had been only too gracious when 

* Van Citters, * Iay '*' June 1-11, 4-14, 16S6 ; Fountainhall, June 15 ; Luttvell's 
' June 7, . ' . 

Diary, June 2, 16. 


he had condescended to ask the assent of the Scottish Estates 
to his wishes. His prerogative would enable him, not only to 
protect those whom he favoured, but to punish those who had 
crossed him. He was confident that, in Scotland, his dis- 
pensing power would not be questioned by any court of law. 
There was a Scottish Act of Supremacy which gave to the 
sovereign such a control over the Church as might have sat- 
isfied Henry the Eighth. Accordingly Papists were admitted 
in crowds to offices and honours. The Bishop of Dunkeld, 
who, as a Lord of Parliament, had opposed the government, 
was arbitrarily ejected from his see, and a successor was ap- 
pointed. Queensberry was stripped of all his employments, 
and was ordered to remain at Edinburgh till the accounts, of 
the Treasury during his administration had been examined and 
approved.* As the representatives of the towns had been 
found the most unmanageable part of the Parliament, it was 
determined to make a revolution in every burgh throughout the 
kingdom. A similar change had recently been effected in 
England by judicial sentences : but in Scotland a simple man- 
date of the prince was thought sufficient. All elections of ma- 
gistrates and of town councils were prohibited ; and the King 
assumed to himself the right of filling up the chief municipal 
offices, t In a formal letter to the Privy Council he announced 
his intention to fit up a Roman Catholic chapel in his palace 
of Holyrood ; and he gave orders that the Judges should be 
directed to treat all the laws against Papists as null, on pam 
of his high displeasure. He however comforted the Protes- 
tant Episcopalians by assuring them that, though he was de- 
termined to protect the Roman Catholic Church against them, 
he was equally determined to protect them against any en- 
croachment on the part of the fanatics. To this communication 
Perth proposed an answer couched in the most servile terms. 
The Council now contained many Papists : the Protestant 
members who still had seats had been cowed by the King's ob- 
stinacy and severity ; and only a few faint murmurs were heard. 

* Fountainhall, June 21, 1686.- . t Ibid. Sept. 16. 1686. 


Hamilton threw out against the dispensing power some hints 
which he made haste to explain away. Lockhart said that he 
would lose his head rather than sign such a letter as the Chan- 
cellor had drawn, but took care to say this in a whisper which 
was heard only by friends. Perth's words were adopted with 
inconsiderable modifications ; and the royal commands were 
obeyed ; but a sullen discontent spread through that minority 
of the Scottish nation by the aid of which the government had 
hitherto held the majority down.* 

When the historian of this troubled reign turns to Ireland, x 
his task becomes peculiarly difficult and delicate. His steps, to 
borrow the fine image used on a similar occasion by a Roman 
poet, are on the thin crust of ashes, beneath which the lava is still 
glowing. The seventeenth century has, in that unhappy coun- 
try, left to the nineteenth a fatal heritage of malignant passions. 
No amnesty for the mutual wrongs inflicted by the Saxon de- 
fenders of Londonderry, and by the Celtic defenders of Limer- 
ick, has ever been granted from the heart by either race. To 
this day a more than Spartan haughtiness alloys the many no- 
ble qualities which characterise the children of the victors, while 
a Helot feeling, compounded of awe and hatred, is but too often 
discernible in the children of the vanquished. Neither of the 
hostile castes can justly be absolved from blame ; but the chief 
blame is due to that short-sighted and headstrong prince who, 
placed in a situation in which he might have reconciled them, em- 
ployed all his power to inflame their animosity, and at length 
forced them to close in a grapple for life and death. 

The grievances under which the members of his Church la- 
boured in Ireland differed widely from those which he was at- 
tempting to remove in England and Scotland. The Irish Stat- 
ute Book, afterwards polluted by intolerance as barbarous as 
that of the dark ages, then contained scarcely a single enactment, 
and not a single stringent enactment, imposing any penalty on 
Papists as such. On our side of Saint George's Channel every 
priest who received a neophyte into the bosom of the Church of 
Rome was liable to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. On the 

* Fountaiuhall, Sept. 16 ; Wodrow, III. x. 3. 


other side he incurred no such danger. A Jesuit who landed 
at Dover took his life in his hand ; but he walked the streets of 
Dublin in security. Here no man could hold office, or even 
earn his livelihood as a barrister or a schoolmaster, without pre- 
viously taking the oath of supremacy : but in Ireland a public 
functionary was not held to be under the necessity of taking that 
oath unless it were formally tendered to him.* It therefore did 
not exclude from employment any person whom the government 
wished to promote. The sacramental test and the declaration 
against transubstantiation were unknown : nor was either House 
of Parliament closed by law against any religious sect. 

It might seem, therefore, that the Irish Roman Catholic was 
in a situation which his English and Scottish brethren in the 
faith might well envy. In fact, however, his condition was more 
pitiable and irritating than theirs. For though not persecuted as 
a Roman Catholic, he was oppressed as an Irishman. In his 
country the same line of demarcation which separated religions 
separated races ; and he was of the conquered, the subjugated, 
the degraded race. On the same soil dwelt two populations, lo- 
cally intermixed, morally and politically sundered. The differ- 
ence of religion was by no means the only difference, or even 
the chief difference, which existed between them. They sprang 
from different stocks. They spoke different languages. They 
had different national characters as strongly opposed as any two 
national characters in Europe. They were in widely different 
stages of civilization. Between two such populations there 
could be little sympathy ; and centuries of calamities and wrongs 
had generated a strong antipathy. The relation in which the 
minority stood to the majority resembled the relation in which 
the followers of William the Conquerer stood to the Saxon 

* The provisions of the Irish Act of Supremacy, 2 Eliz. chap. 1, are substan- 
tially the same with those of the English Act of Supremacy, 1 Eliz. chap. 1 : hut 
the English Act was soon found to he defective ; and the defect was supplied by 
a more stringent act, 5 Eliz. chap. 1. No such supplementary law was made in 
Ireland. That the construction mentioned in the text was put on the Irish Act 
of Supremacy, we are told by Archbishop King : State of Ireland, chap. ii. sec. 9. 
He calls this construction Jesuitical ; but I. cannot see it in that light. 


churls, or the relation in which the followers of Cortes stood to 
the Indians of Mexico. 

The appellation of Irish was then given exclusively to the 
Celts and to those families which, though not of Celtic origin, had 
in the course of ages degenerated into Celtic manners. These peo- 
ple, probably about a million in number, had, with few excep- 
tions, adhered to the Church of Rome. Among them resided 
about two hundred thousand colonists, proud of their Saxon 
blood and of their Protestant faith.* 

The great preponderance of numbers on one side was more 
than compensated by a great superiority of intelligence, vigour, 
and organisation on the other. The English settlers seem to 
have been, in knowledge, energy, and perseverance, rather 
above than below the average level of the population of the 
mother country. The aboriginal peasantry, on the contrary, 
were in an almost savage state. They never worked till they felt 
the sting of hunger. They were content with accommodation 
inferior to that which, in happier countries, was provided for 
domestic cattle. Already the potato, a root which can be cul- 
tivated with scarcely any art, industry, or capital, and which 
cannot be long stored, had become the food of the common 
people, t From a people so fed diligence and forethought were 
not to be expected. Even within a few miles of Dublin, the 
traveller, on a soil the richest and most verdant in the world, 
saw with disgust the miserable burrows out of which squalid 
and half naked barbarians stared wildly at him as he passed. $ 

The aboriginal aristocracy retained in no common measure 
the pride of birth, but had lost the influence which is derived 
from wealth and power. Their lands had been divided by 
Cromwell among his followers. A portion, indeed, of the vast 
territory which he had confiscated had, after the restoration of 
the House of Stuart, been given back to the ancient proprietors, 
ljut much the greater part was still held by English emigrants 
under the guarantee of an Act of Parliament. This act had 

* Political Anatomy of Ireland. 

t Political Anatomy of Ireland, 1C72 ; Irish Hudibras, 1689; John Dunton's 
Account of Ireland, 1699. 

t Clarendon to Rochester, May, 4, 1686. 


been in force a quarter of a century ; and under it mortgages, 
settlements, sales, and leases without number had been made. 
The old Irish gentry were scattered over the whole world. De- 
scendants of Milesian chieftains swarmed in all the courts and 
camps of the Continent. Those despoiled proprietors who still 
remained in their native land, brooded gloomily over their 
losses, pined for the opulence and dignity of which they had 
been deprived, and cherished wild hopes of another revolution. 
A person of this class was described by his countrymen as a 
gentleman who would be rich if justice were done, as a gentle- 
man who had a fine estate if he could only get it.* He seldom 
betook himself to any peaceful calling. Trade, indeed, he 
thought a far more disgraceful resource than marauding. 
Sometimes he turned freebooter. Sometimes he contrived, in de- 
fiance of the law, to live by coshering, that is to say, by quar- 
tering himself on the old tenants of his family, who, wretched 
as was their own condition, could not refuse a portion of their 
pittance to one whom they still regarded as their rightful lorc^.f 
The native gentleman who had been so fortunate as to keep or 
to regain some of his land too often lived like the petty prince 
of a savage tribe, and indemnified himself for the humiliations 
which the dominant race made him suffer by governing his vas- 
sals despotically, by keeping a rude harem, and by maddening 
or stupefying himself daily with strong drink. $ Politically he 
was insignificant. No statute, indeed, excluded him from the 
House of Commons ; but he had almost as little chance of ob- 
taining a seat there as a man of colour has of being chosen a 
Senator of the United States. In fact only one Papist had 
been returned to the Irish Parliament since the Restoration. 
The whole legislative and executive power was in the hands of 
the colonists ; and the ascendency of the ruling caste was up- 

* Bishop Malony's Letter to Bishop Tyrrel, March 8, 1689. 

t Statute 10 & 11 Charles I. chap. 16 ; King's State of the Protestants of Ire- 
land, chap. ii. sec. 8. 

% King, chap. ii. sec. 8. Miss Edgeworth's King Corny belongs to a later and 
much more civilised generation ; but whoever has studied that admirable por- 
trait can form some notion of what King Corny's great-grandfather must have 


held by a standing army of seven thousand men, on whose zeal 
for what was called the English interest full reliance could be 

On a close scrutiny it would have been found that neither 
the Irishry nor the Englishry formed a perfectly homogeneous 
body. The distinction between those Irish who were of Cel- 
tic blood, and those Irish who sprang from the followers of 
Strono-bow and De Bunyh, was not altogether effaced. The 
Fitzes sometimes permitted themselves to -speak with scorn of 
the Os and Macs ; and the Os and Macs sometimes repaid that 
scorn with aversion. In the preceding generation one of the 
most powerful of the O'Neills refused to pay any mark of re- 
spect to a Roman Catholic gentleman of old Norman descent. 
" They say that the family has been here four hundred years. 
No matter. I hate the clown as if he had come yesterday." f 
It seems, however, that such feelings were rare, and that the 
feud which had lonjj ra^ed between the aboriginal Celts and 
the degenerate English had nearly ffiven place to the fiercer 
feud which separated both races from the modern and Protes- 
tant colony. 

That colony had its own internal disputes, both national and 
religious. The majority was English ; but a large minority 
came from the south of Scotland. One half of the settlers be- 
longed to the Established Church : the other half were Dis- 
senters. But in Ireland Scot and Southron were strongly 
bound together by their common Saxon origin. " Churchman and 
Presbyterian were strongly bound together by their common 
Protestantism. All the colonists had a common language and 
a common pecuniary interest. They were surrounded by com- 
mon enemies, and could be safe only by means of common pre- 
cautions and exertions. The few penal laws, therefore, which 
had been made in Ireland against Protestant Nonconformists, 
were a dead letter. % The bigotry of the most sturdy church- 

* King, chap. iii. sec. 2. 

t Sheridan MS. ; Preface to the first volume of the Hihemia Anglicana, 1G90 ; 
Secret Consults of the Romish party in Ireland. 1G89. 

% "There was a free liberty of conscience by connivance, though not by the 
law."— King, chap. iii. sec. 1. 


man would not bear exportation across Saint George's Chan- 
nel. As soon as the Cavalier arrived in Ireland, and found that, 
without the hearty and courageous assistance of his Puritan 
neighbours, he and all his family would run imminent risk of 
being murdered by Popish marauders, his hatred of Puritanism, 
in spite of himself, began to languish and die away. It was re- 
marked by eminent men of both parties that a Protestant who, 
in Ireland, was called a high Tory would in England have been 
considered as a moderate Whig.* 

The Protestant Nonconformists, on their side, endured, with 
more patience than could have been expected, the sight of the 
most absurd ecclesiastical establishment that the world has ever 
seen. Four Archbishops and eighteen Bishops were employ- 
ed in looking after about a tifth part of the number of church- 
men who inhabited the single diocese of London. Of the pa- 
rochial clergy a large proportion were pluralists, and resided at 
a distance from their cures. There were some who drew from 
their benefices incomes of little less than a thousand pounds a 
year, without ever performing any spiritual function. Yet 
this monstrous institution was much less disliked by the Puritans 
settled in Ireland than the Church of England by the English sec- 
taries. For in Ireland religious divisions were subordinate to na- 
tional divisions ; and the Presbyterian, while, as a theologian, he 
could not but condemn the established hierarchy, yet looked on 
that hierarchy with a sort of complacency when he considered it 
as a sumptuous and ostentatious trophy of the victory achieved 
by the great race from which he sprang, f 

Thus the grievances of the Irish Roman Catholic had hardly 
anything in common with the grievances of the English Roman 

* In a letter to James found among Bishop Tyrrel's papers, and dated Aug. 
14, 1686, are some remarkable expressions. " There are few or none Protestants 
in that country hut such as are joined with the Whigs against the common 
enemy." And again : " those that passed for Tories here " (that is in England) 
" publicly espouse the Whig quarrel on the other side the water." Swift said the 
same thing to King William a few years later : " I remember when I was last in 
England I told the King that the highest Tories we had with us would make 
tolerable Whigs there." — Letter concerning the Sacramental Test. 

t The wealth and negligence of the established clergy of Ireland are men- 
tioned in the strongest terms by the Lord Lieutenant Clarendon, a most unex- 
ceptionable witness. 


Catholic. The Roman Catholic of Lancashire or Staffordshire 
had only to turn Protestant ; and he was at once, in all respects, 
on a level with his neighbours : but, if the Roman Catholics of 
Minister and Connaught had turned Protestants, they would 
still have continued to be a subject people. Whatever evils the 
Roman Catholic suffered in England were the effects of harsh 
legislation, and might have been remedied by a more lib- 
eral legislation. But between the two populations which in 
habited Ireland there was an inequality which legislation had 
not caused and could not remove. The dominion which one of 
those populations exercised over the other was the dominion of 
wealth over poverty, of knowledge over ignorance, of civilised 
over uncivilised man. 

James himself seemed, at the commencement of his rehm, to 

C^ 7 

be perfectly aware of these truths. The disrractions of Ireland, 
he said, arose, not from the differences between the Catholics 
and the Protestants, but from the difference between the Irish 
and the English. # The consequences which he should have 
drawn from this just proposition were sufficiently obvious ; but, 
unhappily for himself and for Ireland, he failed to perceive 

If only national animosity could be allayed, there could be little 
doubt that religious animosity, not being kept alive, as in England, 
by cruel penal acts and stringent test acts, would of itself fade 
away. To allay a national animosity such as that which the 
two races inhabiting Ireland felt for each other could not be 
the work of a few years. Yet it was a work to which a wise 
and good prince might have contributed much ; and James 
would have undertaken that work with advantages such as none 
of his predecessors or successors possessed. At once an English- 
man and a Roman Catholic, he belonged half to the ruling and 
half to the subject caste, and was therefore peculiarly qualified to 
be a mediator between them. Nor is it difficult to trace the course 
which he ought to have pursued. He ought to have determined 
that the existing settlement of landed property should be in- 

* Clarendon reminds the King of this in a letter dated March 14, 1G8 5-6. " It 
certainly is," Clarendon adds, ''a moat true notion." 


violable ; and he ought to have announced that determination 
in sucli a manner as effectually to quiet the anxiety of the new 
proprietors, and to extinguish any wild hopes which the old 
proprietors might entertain. Whether, in the great transfer 
of estates, injustice had or had not been committed, was im- 
material. That transfer, just or unjust, had taken place so 
Ions: aso, that to reverse it would be to unfix the foundations of 
society. There must be a time of limitation to all rights. After 
thirty-five years of actual possession, after twenty-five years 
of possession solemnly guaranteed by statute, after innumerable 
leases and releases, mortgages and devises, it was too late to 
search for flaws in titles. Nevertheless something might have 
been done to heal the lacerated feelings and to raise the fallen 
fortunes of the Irish gentry. The colonists were in a thriving 
condition. They had greatly improved their property by build- 
ing, planting, and enclosing. The rents had almost doubled 
within a few years ; trade was brisk ; and the revenue, amount- 
ing to about three hundred thousand pounds a year, more than 
defrayed all the charges of the local government, and afforded 
a surplus which was remitted to England. There was no doubt 
that the next Parliament which should meet at Dublin, though 
representing almost exclusively the English interest, would, in 
return for the King's promise to maintain that interest in all its 
legal rights, willingly grant to him a very considerable sum for 
the purpose of indemnifying, at least in part, such native fami- 
lies as had been wrongfully despoiled. It was thus that in our 
own time the French government put an end to the disputes 
engendered by the most extensive confiscation that ever took 
place in Europe. And thus, if James had been guided by the 
advice of his most loyal Protestant counsellors, he would have 
at least greatly mitigated one of the chief evils which afflicted 

Having done this, he should have laboured to reconcile the 
hostile races to each other by impartially defending the rights 
and restraining the excesses of both. He should have punished 

* Clarendon strongly recommended this course, and was of opinion that the 
Irish Parliament would do its part. See his letter to Ormond, Aug. 28, 1686. 

Vol. II.— 9 


with equal severity the native who indulged in the license of 
barbarism, and the colonist who abused the strength of civilisa- 
tion. As far as the legitimate authority of the crown extended, 
— and in Ireland it extended far, — no man who was qualified 
for office by integrity and ability should have been considered 
as disqualified by extraction or by creed for any public 
trust. It is probable that a Roman Catholic King, vuth 
an ample revenue absolutely at his disposal, would, with- 
out much difficulty, have secured the cooperation of the Roman 
Catholic prelates and priests in the great work of reconciliation. 
Much, however, must still have been left to the healing influ- 
ence of time. The native race would still have had to learn 
from the colonists industry and forethought, the arts of civilised 
life, and the language of England. There could not be equality 
between men who lived in houses and men who lived in sties, 
between men who were fed on bread and men who were fed 
on potatoes, between men who spoke the noble tongue of great 
philosophers and poets, and men who, with a perverted pride, 
boasted that they could not writhe their mouths into chattering 
such a jargon as that in which the Advancement of Learning 
and the Paradise Lost were written.* Yet it is not unreasona- 
ble to believe that, if the gentle policy which has been described 
had been steadily followed by the government, all distinctions 
would gradually have been effaced, and that there would now 
have been no more trace of the hostility which has been the curse 
of Ireland than there is of the equally deadly hostility which 
once raged between the Saxons and the Normans in England. 
Unhappily James, instead of becoming a mediator, became 
the fiercest and most reckless of partisans. Instead of allaying 
the auimosity of the two populations, he inflamed it to a height 
before unknown. He determined to reverse their relative posi- 
tion, and to put the Protestant colonist under the feet of the 
Popish Celts. To be of the established religion, to be of the 
English blood, was, in his view, a disqualification for civil and 

* It was an O'Neil of great eminence who said that it did not heroine him to 
writhe hi3 mouth to chatter English. Preface to the first volume of the Hihernia 


military employment. He meditated the design of again confis- 
cating and again portioning out the soil of half the island, and 
showed his inclination so clearly that one class was soon agitated 
by terrors which he afterwards vainly wished to soothe, and the 
other by cupidity which he afterwards vainly wished to restrain. 
But this was the smallest part of his guilt and madness. He 
deliberately resolved, not merely to give to the aboriginal inhab- 
itants of Ireland the entire dominion of their own country, but 
also to use them as his instruments for setting up arbitrary 
government in England. The event was such as might have 
been foreseen. The colonists turned to bay with the stubborn 
hardihood of their race. The mother country justly regarded 
their cause as her own. Then came a desperate struggle for a 
tremendous stake. Everything dear to nations was wagered on 
both sides : nor can we justly blame either the Irishman or the 
Englishman for obeying, in that extremity, the law of selfpres- 
ervation. The contest was terrible, but short. The weaker 
went down. His fate was cruel ; and yet for the cruelty with 
which he was treated there was, not indeed a defence, but an 
excuse : for, though he suffered all that tyranny could inflict, 
he suffered nothing that he would not himself have inflicted. The 
effect of the insane attempt to subjugate England by means of 
Ireland was that the Irish became hewers of wood and drawers of 
water to the English. The old proprietors, by their effort to recover 
what they had lost, lost the greater part of what they had retained. 
The momentary ascendency of Popery produced such a series of 
barbarous laws against Popery as made the statute book of Ireland 
a proverb of infamy throughout Christendom. Such were the 
bitter fruits of the policy of James. 

We have seen that one of his first acts, after he became King, 
was to recall Ormond from Ireland. Ormond was the head of 
the English interest in that kingdom : he was firmly attached to 
the Protestant religion ; and his power far exceeded that of an 
ordinary Lord Lieutenant, first, because he was in rank and 
wealth the greatest of the colonists, and secondly, because he was 
not onl} r the chief of the civil administration, but also commander 
of the forces. The King was not at that time disposed to com- 


mit the government wholly to Irish hands. lie had indeed been 
heard to say that a native viceroy would soon become an inde- 
pendent sovereign.* For the present, therefore, he determined 
to divide the power which Ormond had possessed, to entrust the 
civil administration to an English and Protestant Lord Lieu- 
tenant, and to give the command of the army to an Irish and 
Roman Catholic General. The Lord Lieutenant was Clarendon : 
the General was Tyrconnel. 

Tyrconnel sprang, as has already been said, from one of 
those degenerate families of the Pale which were popularly 
classed with the aboriginal population of Ireland. He some- 
times indeed, in his rants, talked with Norman haughtiness of 
the Celtic barbarians : f but all his sympathies were really with 
the natives. The Protestant colonists he hated ; and they re- 
turned his hatred. Clarendon's inclinations were very different : 
but he was, from temper, interest, and principle, an obsequious 
courtier. His spirit was mean ; his circumstances were embar- 
rassed ; and his mind had been deeply imbued with the political 
doctrines which the Church of England had in that age too assid- 
uously taught. His abilities, however, were not contemptible ; 
and, under a good King, he would probably have been a re- 
spectable viceroy. 

About three quarters of a year elapsed between the recall of 
Ormond and the arrival of Clarendon at Dublin. During that 
interval the King was represented by a board of Lords Justices : 
but the military administration was in TyrconEel's hands. Already 
the designs of the court began gradually to unfold themselves. 
A royal order came from Whitehall for disarming the population. 
This order Tyrconnel strictly* executed as respected the English. 
Though the country was infested by predatory bands, a Protes- 
tant gentleman could scarcely obtain permission to keep a brace 
of pistols. The native peasantry, on the other baud, were 

* Sheridan MS. among the Stuart Papers. I ought to acknowledge the court- 
esy willi which Mr. Glover assisted me in my search for this valuable manuscript. 
James appears, from the instructions which he drew up for his son in 1692, l>> 
have retained to the last the notion that Ireland could not without danger be 
entrusted to an Irish Lord Lieutenant. 

t Sheridan MS. 


suffered to retain their weapons.* The joy of the colonists was 
therefore great, when at length, in December 1G85, Tyrconnel 
went to London, and Clarendon came to Dublin. But it soon ap- 
peared that the government was really directed, not at Dublin, 
but in London. Every mail that crossed Saint George's Channel 
brought tidings of the boundless influence which Tyrconnel ex- 
ercised on Irish affairs. It was said that he was to be a Mar- 
quess, that he was to be a Duke, that he was to have the sole 
command of the forces, that he was to be entrusted with the 
task of remodelling the army and the courts of justice. f Clar- 
endon was bitterly mortified at finding himself a subordinate 
member of that administration of which he had expected to be 
the head. He complained that whatever he did was misrepre- 
sented by his detractors, and that the gravest resolutions touch- 
ing the country which he governed were adopted at Westminster, 
made known to the public, discussed at coffee houses, commu- 
nicated in hundreds of private letters, some weeks before one 
hint had been given to the Lord Lieutenant. His own personal 
dignity, he said, mattered little : but it was no light thing that 
the representative of the majesty of the throne should be made 
an object of contempt to the people.. t Panic spread fast among 
the English, when they found that the viceroy, their fellow 
countryman and fellow Protestant, was unable to extend to them 
the protection which they had expected from him. They began 
to know by bitter experience what it is to be a subject caste. 
They were harassed by the natives with accusations of treason 
and sedition. This Protestant had corresponded with Mon- 
mouth : that Protestant had said something disrespectful of the 
King four or five years ago, when the Exclusion Bill was under 
discussion ; and the evidence of the most infamous of mankind 
was ready to substantiate every charge. The Lord Lieutenant 
expressed his apprehension that, if these practices were not 
stopped, there would soon be at Dublin a reign of terror similar 

* Clarendon to Rochester, Jan. 19, 168 5-6 ; Secret Consults of the Romish 
Party in Ireland, 1690. 

t Clarendon to Rochester, February 27, 168 5-6. 

+ Clarendon to Rochester and Sunderland, March 2, 168 5-6; and to Rochester, 
March 14. 


to that which he had seen in London, when every man held his 
life and honour at the mercy of Oates and Bcdloe.* 

Clarendon was soon informed, by a concise despatch from 
Sunderland, that it had been resolved to make without delay a 
complete change in both the civil and the military government 
of Ireland, and to bring a large number of Roman Catholics in- 
stantly into office. His Majesty, it was most ungraciously added, 
had taken counsel on these matters with persons more compe- 
tent to advise him than his inexperienced Lord Lieutenant could 
possibly be.f 

Before this letter reached the viceroy the intelligence which 
it contained had, through many channels, arrived in Ireland. 
The terror of the colonists was extreme. Outnumbered as they 
were by the native population, their condition would be pitiable 
indeed if the native population were to be armed against them 
with the whole power of the state ; and nothing less than this 
was threatened. The English inhabitants of Dublin passed each 
other in the streets with dejected looks. On the Exchange 
business was suspended. Landowners hastened to sell their 
estates for whatever could be got, and to remit the purchase 
money to England. Traders began to call in their debts, and to 
make preparations for retiring from business. The alarm soon 
affected the revenue. $ Clarendon attempted to inspire the dis- 
mayed settlers with a confidence which he was himself far from 
feeling. He assured them that their property would he held 
sacred, and that, to his certain knowledge, the King was fully 
determined to maintain the Act of Settlement which guaranteed 
their right to the soil. But his letters to England were in a very 
different strain. He ventured even to expostulate with the 
King, and, without blaming His Majesty's intention of employ- 
ing Roman Catholics, expressed a strong opinion that the 
Roman Catholics who might be employed ought to be English- 

The reply of James was dry and cold. He declared that he 

* Clarendon to Sunderland, February 2S, 168 6-6 
t Sunderland to Clarendon, March 11, 1CS 5-G. 
+ Clarendon to Rochester, March 14, 168 5-0. 
§ Clarendon to James, March 4, 1GS 5-6. 


had no intention of depriving the English colonists of their land, 
but that he regarded a large portion of them as his enemies, and 
that, since he consented to leave so much property in the hands 
of his enemies, it was the more necessary that the civil and 
military administration should be in the hands of his friends.* 

Accordingly several Roman Catholics were sworn of the 
Privy Council ; and orders were sent to corporations to admit 
Roman Catholics to municipal advantages.f Many officers of 
the army were arbitrarily deprived of their commissions and of 
their bread. It was to no purpose that the Lord Lieutenant 
pleaded the cause of some whom he knew to be good soldiers 
and loyal subjects. Among them were old Cavaliers, who had 
fought bravely for monarchy, and who bore the marks of hon- 
ourable wounds. Their places were supplied by men who had 
no recommendation but their religion. Of the new Captains 
and Lieutenants, it was said, some had been cowherds, some foot- 
men, some noted marauders ; some had been so used to wear 
brogues that they stumbled and shuffled about strangely in their 
military jack boots. Not a few of the officers who were discarded 
took refuge in the Dutch service, and enjoyed, four years later, 
the pleasure of driving their successors before them in ignomini- 
ous rout from the margin of the Boyne.t 

The distress and alarm of Clarendon were increased by 
news which reached him through private channels. Without 
his approbation, without his knowledge, preparations were 
making for arming and drilling the whole Celtic population of 
the country of which he was the nominal governor. Tyrconnel 
from London directed the design ; and the prelates of the Ro- 
man Catholic Church were his agents. Every priest had been 
instructed to prepare an exact list of all his male parishioners 
capable of bearing arms, and to forward it to his Bishop.§ 

* James to Clarendon, April C, 1C8G. 

t Sunderland to Clarendon, May 22, 1G86 ; Clarendon to Ormond, May 30. 
Clarendon to Sunderland, July 6, 11. 

% Clarendon to Rochester and Sunderland, June 1, 1G86 ; to Rochester, June 
12 ; King's State of the Protestants of Ireland, chajj. ii. sec. G, 7 ; Apology for the 
Protestants of Ireland, 1689. 

§ Clarendon to Rochester, May 15, 168G. 


It had already been rumoured that Tyrconnel would soon 
return to Dublin armed with extraordinary and independent 
powers ; and the rumour gathered strength daily. The Lord 
Lieutenant, whom no insult could drive to resign the pomp and 
emoluments of his place, declared that he should submit cheer- 
fully to the royal pleasure, and approve himself in all things a 
faithful and obedient subject. He had never, he said, in his 
life, had any difference with Tyrconnel, and he trusted that no 
difference would now arise.* Clarendon appears not to have 
recollected that there had once been a plot to ruin the fame of his 
innocent sister, and that in that plot Tyrconnel had borne a chief 
part. This is not exactly one of the injuries which highspirited 
men most readily pardon. But, in the wicked court where the 
Hydes had long been pushing their fortunes, such injuries were 
easily forgiven and forgotten, not from magnanimity or Chris- 
tian charity, but from mere baseness and want of moral sensi- 
bility. In June 1686, Tyrconnel came. His commission 
authorised him only to command the troops : but he brought 
with him royal instructions touching all parts of the adminis- 
tration, and at once took the real government of the island into 
his own hands. On the day after his arrival he explicitly said 
that commissions must be largely given to Roman Catholic 
officers and that room must be made for them by dismissing 
more Protestants. He pushed on the remodelling of the army 
eagerly and indefatigably. It was indeed the only part of the 
functions of a Commander in Chief which he was competent to 
perform ; for, though courageous in brawls and duels, he knew 
nothing of military duty. At the very first review which he 
held, it was evident to all who were near him that he did not 
know how to draw up a regiment.f To turn Englishmen out 
and to put Irishmen in was, in his view, the beginning and the end 
of the administration of war. He had the insolence to cashier 
the Captain of the Lord Lieutenant's own Body Guard ; nor 
was Clarendon aware of what had happened till he saw a Ro- 
man Catholic, whose face was quite unknown to him, escorting 

* Clarendon to Rochester, May 11, 1686. t Ibid. June 8, 1686. 


the state coach.* The change was not confined to the officers 
alone. The ranks were completely broken up and recomposed. 
Four or five hundred soldiers were turned out of a single regi- 
ment chiefly on the ground that they were below the proper 
stature. Yet the most unpractised eye at once perceived that 
they were taller and better made men than their successors, 
whose wild and squalid appearance disgusted the beholders. t 
Orders were given to the new officers that no man of the Pro- 
testant religion was to be suffered to enlist. The recruiting 
parties, instead of beating their drums for volunteers at fairs 
and markets, as had been the old practice, repaired to places to 
which the Roman Catholics were in the habit of making pil- 
grimages for purposes of devotion. In a few weeks the Gen- 
eral had introduced more than two thousand natives into the 
ranks ; and the people about him confidently affirmed that by 
Christmas day not a man of English race would be left in the 
whole army.J 

On all questions which arose in the Privy Council, Tyr- 
connel showed similar violence and partiality. John Keating, 
Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, a man distinguished by 
ability, integrity, and loyalty, represented with great mildness 
that perfect equality was all that the General could reasonably 
ask for his own Church. The Kino;, he said, evidently meant 
that no man fit for public trust should be excluded because he 
was a Roman Catholic, and that no man unfit for public trust 
should be admitted because he was a Protestant. Tyrconnel 
immediately began to curse and swear. " I do not know what 
to say to that; I would have all Catholics in." § The most 
judicious Irishmen of his own religious persuasion were dismay- 
ed at his rashness, and ventured to remonstrate with him ; but 
he drove them from him with imprecations. || His brutality 
was such that many thought him mad. Yet it was less strange 

* Secret Consults of the Romish Party in Ireland. 

t Clarendon to Rochester, June 26, and July 4, 1686 ; Apology for the Pro- 
testants of Ireland, 1689. 

% Clarendon to Rochester, July 4, 22, 1686; to Sunderland, July 6; to the 
King, August 14. 

§ Clarendon to Rochester, Juno 19, 1686. 

|| Ibid. June 22, 1686. 


than the shameless volubility with which he uttered false- 
hoods. He had long before earned the nickname of Lying Dick 
Talbot ; and, at Whitehall, any wild fieri jn was commonly des- 
ignated as one of Dick Talbot's truths. He now daily proved 
thai he was well entitled to this unenviable reputation. Indeed 
in him mendacity was almost a disease. He would, after giving 
orders for the dismission of English officers, take them into his 
closet, assure them of his confidence and friendship, and implore 
Heaven to confound him, sink him, blast him, if he did not 
take good care of their interests. Sometimes those to whom he 
had thus perjured himself learned, before the day closed, that 
he had cashiered them.* 

On his arrival, though he swore savagely at the Act of 
Settlement, and called the English interest a foul thing, a 
roguish thing, and a damned thing, he yet pretended to be con- 
vinced that the distribution of property could not, after the 
lapse of so many years, be altered. t But when he had been a 
few weeks at Dublin, his. language changed. He began to 
harangue vehemently at the Council board on the necessity of 
giving back the land to the old owners. He had not, however, 
as yet obtained his master's sanction to this fatal project. 
National feeling still struggled feebly against superstition in the 
mind of James. He was an Englishman : he was an English 
King ; and he could not, without some misgivings, consent to 
the destruction of the greatest colony that England had ever 
planted. The English Roman Catholics with whom he was in 
the habit of taking council were almost unanimous in favour of 
the Act of Settlement. Not only the honest and moderate 
Powis, but the dissolute and headstrong Dover, gave judicious 
and patriotic advice. Tyrconnel could hardly hope to counter- 
act at a distance the effect which such advice must produce on 
the royal mind. He determined to plead the cause of his caste 
in person ; and accordingly he set out, at the end of August, 
for England. 

* Sheridan MS. ; King's State of the Protectants of Ireland, chap. iii. sec. 3, 
sec. 8. There is a most striking instance of Tyrcoiinel's impudent mendacity in 
Clarendon's Letter to Rochester. July 22, 16S6. 

t Clarendon to Rochester, June 8, 1C86. 


His presence and his absence were equally dreaded by the 
Lord Lieutenant. It was, indeed, painful to be daily brow- 
beaten by an enemy : but it was not less painful to know that 
an enemy was daily breathing calumny and evil council in the 
royal ear. Clarendon was overwhelmed by manifold vexations. 
He made a progress through the country, and found that he was 
everywhere treated by the Irish population with contempt. The 
Roman Catholic priests exhorted their congregations to withhold 
from him all marks of honour. The native gentry, instead of 
coming to pay their respects to him, remained at their houses. 
The native peasantry everywhere sang Celtic ballads in praise 
of Tyrconnel, who would, they doubted not, soon reappear to 
complete the humiliation of their oppressors. * The viceroy had 
scarcely returned to Dublin, from his unsatisfactory tour, when 
he received letters which informed him that he had incurred the 
King's serious displeasure. His Majesty, — so these letters ran, 
— expected his servants not only to do what he commanded, 
but to do it from the heart, and with a cheerful countenance. 
The Lord Lieutenant had not, indeed, refused to cooperate in 
the reform of the army and of the civil administration : but his 
cooperation had been reluctant and perfunctory : his looks had 
betrayed his feelings ; and everybody saw that he disapproved 
of the policy which he was employed to carry into effect. J In 
great anguish of mind he wrote to defend himself ; but he was 
sternly told that his defence was not satisfactory. He then, in 
the most abject terms, declared that he would not attempt to 
justify himself; that he acquiesced in the royal judgment, be it 
what it might ; that he prostrated himself in the dust ; that he 
implored pardon ; that of all penitents he was the most sincere ; 
that he should think it glorious to die in his Sovereign's cause, 
but found it impossible to live under his Sovereign's displeas- 
ure. Nor was this mere interested hypocrisy, but, at least in 
part, unaffected slavishness and poverty of spirit ; for in con- 
fidential letters, not meant for the royal eye, he bemoaned himself 

* Clarendon to Rochester, Sept. 23, and October 2, 1686 ; Secret Consults of 
the Romish Party in Ireland, 1600. 

t Clarendon to Rochester, October 6, 1686. 


to his family in the same strain. He was miserable : he was 
crushed : the wrath of the King was insupportable : if that 
wrath could not be mitigated, life would not be worth having.* 
The poor man's terror increased when he learned that it had 
been determined at Whitehall to recall him, and to appoint, as 
his successor, his rival and calumniator, Tyrconnel-t Then for a 
time the prospect seemed to clear : the King was in better 
humour ; and during a few days Clarendon flattered himself that 
his brother's intercession had prevailed, and that the crisis was 
passed. $ 

In truth the crisis was only beginning. While Clarendon 
was trying to lean on Rochester, Rochester was unable longer to 
support himself. As in Ireland the elder brother, though re- 
taining the guard of honour, the sword of state, and the title of 
Excellency, had really been superseded by the Commander of 
the Forces, so in England, the younger brother, though holding 
the white staff, and walking, by virtue of his high office, before 
the greatest hereditary nobles, was fast sinking into a mere 
financial clerk. The Parliament was again prorogued to a dis- 
tant day, in opposition to the Treasurer's known wishes. He 
was not even told that there was to be another prorogation, but 
was left to learn the news from the Gazette. Tha real direction 
of affairs had passed to the cabal which dined with Sunderland 
on Fridays. The cabinet met only to hear the despatches from 
foreign courts read ; nor did those despatches contain anything 
which was not known on the Royal Exchange ; for all the Eng- 
lish Envoys had received orders to put into the official letters 
only the common talk of antechambers, and to reserve important 
secrets for private communications which were addressed to 
James himself, to Sunderland, or to Petre.§ Yet the victorious 
faction was not content. The King was assured by those whom 
he most trusted that the obstinacy with which the nation opposed 
his designs was really to be imputed to Rochester. How could 
the people believe that their Sovereign was unalterably resolved 

* Clarendon to the King and to Rochester, October 23, 16S6. 

t Clarendon to Rochester, October 29, 30, 1CSG. J Ibid., November 27, 1GS6. 

§ Barillon, Sept. 13-23, 168G ; Lite of James the Second, ii. 9,9. 


to persevere in the course on which he had entered, when they 
saw at his right hand, ostensibly first in power and trust among 
his counsellors, a man who notoriously regarded that course with 
strong disapprobation ? Every step which had been taken with 
the object of humbling the Church of England and of elevating 
the Church of Rome, had been opposed by the Treasurer. True 
it was that, when he had found opposition in vain, he had gloom- 
ily submitted, nay, that he had sometimes even assisted in carry- 
ing into effect the very plans against which he had most earnest- 
ly contended. True it was that, though he disliked the Eccle- 
siastical Commission, he had consented to be a Commissioner. 
True it was that he had, while declaring that he could see noth- 
ing blamable in the conduct of the Bishop of London, voted sul- 
lenly and reluctantly for the sentence of suspension. But this 
was not enough. A prince, engaged in an enterprise so impor- 
tant and arduous as that on which James was bent, had a right 
to expect from his first minister, not unwilling and ungracious 
acquiescence, but zealous and strenuous cooperation. While 
such advice was daily given to James by those in whom he re- 
posed confidence, he received, by the penny post, many anony- 
mous letters filled with calumnies against the Lord Treasurer. 
This mode of attack had been contrived by Tyrconnel, and was 
in perfect harmony with every part of his infamous life.* 

The King hesitated. Pie seems, indeed, to have really re- 
garded his brother in law with personal kindness, the effect of near 
affinity, of long and familiar intercourse, and of many mutual 
good offices. It seemed probable that, as long as Rochester 
continued to submit himself, though tardily and with murmurs, 
to the royal pleasure, he would continue to be in name prime 
minister. Sunderland, therefore, with exquisite cunning, suggest- 
ed to his master the propriety of asking the only proof of obedi- 
ence which it was quite certain that Rochester never would give. 
At present, — such was the language of the artful Secretary, — it 
was impossible to consult with the first of the King's servants 
respecting the object nearest to the King's heart. It was lament* 

* Sheridan MS. 


able to think that religious prejudices should, at such a cou junc- 
ture, deprive the government of such valuable assistance. Per- 
haps those prejudices might not prove insurmountable. Then 
the deceiver whispered that, to his knowledge, Rochester 
had of late had some misgivings about the points in dispute 
between the Protestants and Catholics.* This was enough. 
The King eagerly caught at the hint. He began to flatter him- 
self that he might at once escape from the disagreeable neces- 
sity of removing a friend, and secure an able coadjutor for the 
great work which was in progress. He was also elated by the 
hope that he might have the merit and the glory of saving a 
fellow creature from perdition. He seems, indeed, about this 
time, to have been seized with an unusually violent fit of zeal 
for his religion ; and this is the more remarkable, because he 
had just relapsed, after a short interval of selfrestraint, into de- 
bauchery which all Christian divines condemn as sinful, and 
which, in an elderly man married to an agreeable young wife, is 
regarded even by people of the world as disreputable. Lady 
Dorchester had returned from Dublin, and was again the King's 
mistress. Her return was politically of no importance. She 
had learned by experience the folly of attempting to save her lov- 
er from the destruction to which he was running headlong. She 
therefore suffered the Jesuits to guide his political conduct ; and 
they, in return, suffered her to wheedle him out of money. She 
was, however, only one of several abandoned women who at 
this time shared, with his beloved Church, the dominion over 
his mind.f He seems to have determined to make some amends 
for neglecting the welfare of his own soul by taking care of 
the souls of others. He set himself, therefore, to labour, with 
real good will,*but with the good will of a coarse, stern, and 
arbitrary mind, for the conversion of his kinsman. Every 
audience which the Treasurer obtained was spent in arguments 
about the authority of the Church and the worship of images. 
Rochester was firmly resolved not to abjure his religion: but 

* Life of James the Second, ii. 100. 

t Barillon, Sept. 13-23, 1G8G ; Bonrepaux, June 4, 1GS7. 


he had no scruple about employing in selfdefence artifices as 
discreditable as those which had been used against him. He 
affected to speak like a man whose mind was not made up, pro- 
fessed himself desirous to be enlightened if he was in error, 
borrowed Popish books, and listened with civility to Popish 
divines. He had several interviews with Leyburn, the Vicar 
Apostolic, with Godden, the chaplain and almoner of the Queen 
Dowager, and with Bonaventure Giffard, a theologian trained 
to polemics in the schools of Douay. It was agreed that there 
should be a formal disputation between these doctors and some 
Protestant clergymen. The King told Rochester to choose any 
ministers of the Established Church, with two exceptions. The 
proscribed persons were Tillotson and Stillingneet. Tillotson, 
the most popular preacher of that age, and in manners the most 
inoffensive of men, had been much connected with some leading 
Whigs ; and Stillingfleet, who was renowned as a consummate 
master of all the weapons of controversy, had given still deeper 
offence by publishing an answer to the papers which had been 
found in the strong box of Charles the Second. Rochester 
took the two royal chaplains who happened to be in waiting. 
One of them was Simon Patrick, whose commentaries on the 
Bible still form a part of theological libraries : the other was 
Jane, a vehement Tory, who had assisted in drawing up that 
decree by which the University of Oxford had solemnly adopted 
the worst follies of Filrner. The conference took place at 
Whitehall on the thirtieth of November. Rochester, who did 
not wish it to be known that he had even consented to hear the 
arguments of Popish priests, stipulated for secrecy. No audi- 
tor was suffered to be present except the King. The subject dis- 
cussed was the real presence. The Roman Catholic divines 
took on themselves the burden of the proof. Patrick and Jane 
said little ; nor was it necessary that they should say much ; 
for the Earl himself undertook to defend the doctrine of his 
Church, and, as was his habit, soon warmed with conflict, lost 
his temper, and asked with great vehemence whether it was ex- 
pected that he should change his religion on such frivolous 
grounds. Then he remembered how much he was risking, be- 


gan again to dissemble, complimented the disputants on their skill 
and learning, and asked time to consider what had been said.* 

Slow as James was, he could not but see that this was mere 
trifling. He told Barillon that Rochester's language was not 
that of a man honestly desirous of arriving at the truth. Still 
the King did not like to propose directly to his brother in 
law the simple choice, apostasy or dismissal : but, three days 
after the conference, Barillon waited on the Treasurer, and, 
with much circumlocution and many expressions of friendly 
concern, broke the unpleasant truth. " Do you mean," said 
Rochester, bewildered by the involved and ceremonious phrases 
in which the intimation was made, that if I do not turn Catho- 
lic, the cousequence will be that I shall lose my place ? " 
" I say nothing about consequences," answered the wary diplo- 
matist. " I only come as a friend to express a hope that you 
will take care to keep your place." " But surely," said Roches- 
ter, " the plain meaning of all of this is that I must turn Catho- 
lic or go out." He put many questions for the purpose of 
ascertaining whether the communication was made by authority, 
but could extort only vague and mysterious replies. At last, 
affecting a confidence which he was far from feeling, he declared 
that Barillon must have been imposed upon by idle or malicious 
reports. " I tell you," he said, " that the King will not dismiss 
me, and I will not resign. I know him : he knows me ; and I 
fear nobody." The Frenchman answered that he was charmed, 
that he was ravished to hear it, and that his only motive for 
interfering was a sincere anxiety for the prosperity and dignity 
of his excellent friend the Treasurer. And thus the two states- 
men parted, each flattering himself that he had duped the other. | 

Meanwhile, in spite of all injunctions of secrecy, the news 
that the Lord Treasurer had consented to be instructed in the 
doctrines of Popery had spread fast through London. Patrick 

* Barillon, Dec. 2-12, 1686; Burnet, i. 684 ; Life of James the Second, ii. 100 
Dodd's Church History. I have tried to frame a fair narrative out of these con 
fiicting Materials. It seems clear to me, from Rochester's own papers, thnt he 
was on this occasion by no means so stubborn as he has been represented by 
Burnet and by the biographer of James. 

t From Rochester'^ Minutes, dated Dec. 3, 1686. 


and Jane had been seen going in at that mysterious door which 
led to Chiffinch's apartments. Some Roman Catholics about 
the Court had, indiscreetly or artfully, told all, and more than 
all, that they knew. The Tory churchmen waited anxiously for 
fuller information. They were mortified to think that their 
leader should even have pretended to waver in his opinion ; 
but they could not believe that he would stoop to be a renegade. 
The unfortunate minister, tortured at once by his fierce passions 
and his low desires, annoyed by the censures of the public, an- 
noyed by the hints which he had received from Barillon, afraid 
of losing character, afraid of losing office, repaired to the royal 
closet. He was determined to keep his place, if it could be kept 
by any villany but one. He would pretend to be shaken in his 
religious opinion, and to be halt a convert : he would promise 
to give strenuous support to that policy which he had hitherto 
opposed : but, if he were driven to extremity, he would refuse 
to change his religion. He began, therefore, by telling the 
King that the business in which His Majesty took so much 
interest was not sleeping, that Jane and Giffard were 
engaged in consulting books on the points in dispute be- 
tween the Churches, and that, when these researches were 
over, it would be desirable to have another conference. Then 
he complained bitterly that all the town was apprised of 
what ought to have been carefully concealed, and that 
some persons, who, from their station might be supposed to 
be well informed, reported strange things as to the royal in- 
tentions. u It is whispered," he said, " that, if I do not do as 
Your Majesty would have me, I shall not be suffered to con- 
tinue in my present station." The King said, with some gen- 
eral expressions of kindness, that it was difficult to prevent 
people from talking, and that loose reports were not to be re- 
garded. These vague phrases were not likely to quiet the per- 
turbed mind of the minister. His agitation became violent, 
and he began to plead for his place as if he had been pleading 
for his life. " Your Majesty sees that I do all in my power to 
obey you. Indeed I will do all that I can to obey you in every- 
thing. I will serve you in your own way. Nay," he cried, in 
Vol. II.— 10 


an agony of baseness, " I will do what I can to believe as you 
would have me. But do not let me be told, while I am trying 
to bring my mind to this, that, if I find it impossible to comply, I 
must lose all. For I must needs tell Your Majesty that there 
are other considerations." " Oh, you must needs," exclaimed 
the King with an oath. For a single word of honest and manly 
sound, escaping in the midst of all this abject supplication, was 
sufficient to move his anger. " I hope, sir," said poor Roches- 
ter, " that I do not offend you. Surely Your Majesty could not 
think well of me if I did not say so." The King recollected 
himself, protested that he was not offended, and advised the 
Treasurer to disregard idle rumours, and to confer again with 
Jane and Giffard.* 

After this conversation a fortnight elapsed before the decisive 
blow fell. That fortnight Rochester passed in intriguing and im- 
ploring. He attempted to interest in his favour those Roman 
Catholics who had the greatest influence at court. He could 
not, he said, renounce his own religion: but, with that single 
reservation, he would do all that they could desire. Indeed 
if he might only keep his place, they should find that he could 
be more useful to them as a Protestant than as one of their 
own communion.t His wife, who was on a sick bed, had al- 
ready, it was said, solicited the honour of a visit from the much 
injured Queen, and had attempted to work on her Majesty's 
feelings of compassion 4 But the Hydes abased themselves in 
vain. Petre regarded them with peculiar malevolence, and was 
bent on their ruin.§ On the evening of the seventeenth 
of December the Earl was called into the royal closet. 
James was unusually discomposed, and even shed tears. The 
occasion, indeed, could not but call up some recollections which 
might well soften a hard heart. He expressed his regret that 
his duty made it impossible for him to indulge his private par- 
tialities. It was absolutely necessary, he said, that those who 
had the chief direction of his affairs should partake his opinions 

* From Rochester's Minutes, Dec. 4, 1686. t Barillon, Deo. 20-30, 1686. 

$ Burnet, i. 684. § Bonrepaux, Mlv — 16S7. 

June 4, 


and feelings. He owned that he had very great personal 
obligations to Rochester, and that no fault could be found with 
the way in which the financial business had lately been done : 
but the office of Lord Treasurer was of such high importance 
that, in general, it ought not to be entrusted to a single person, 
and could not safely be entrusted by a Roman Catholic King to 
a person zealous for the Church of England. " Think better 
of it, my Lord," he continued. " Read again the papers from 
my brother's box. I will give you a little more time for con- 
sideration, if you desire it." Rochester saw that all was over, 
and that the wisest course left to him was to make his retreat 
with as much money and as much credit as possible. He suc- 
ceeded in both objects. He obtained a pension of four thou- 
sand pounds a year for two lives on the post office. He had 
made great sums out of the estates of traitors, and carried with 
him in particular Grey's bond for forty thousand pounds, and 
a grant of all the estate which the crown had in Grey's exten- 
sive property.* No person had ever quitted office on terms so 
advantageous. To the applause of the sincere friends of the 
Established Church Rochester had, indeed, very slender claims. 
To save his place he had sate in that tribunal which had been 
illegally created for the purpose of persecuting her. To save 
his place he had given a dishonest vote for degrading one of 
her most eminent ministers, had affected to doubt her orthodoxy, 
had listened with the outward show of docility to teachers who 
called her schismatical and heretical, and had offered to coop- 
erate strenuously with her deadliest enemies in their designs 
against her. The highest praise to which he was entitled 
was this, that he had shrunk from the exceeding wickedness 
and baseness of publicly abjuring, for lucre, the religion in 
which he had been brought up, which he believed to be true, 
and of which he had long made an ostentatious profession. 
Yet he was extolled by the great body of Churchmen as if he 
had been the bravest and purest of martyrs. The Old and 

* Rochester's Minutes, Dec. 19, 1G8<3 ; Barillon, ^Sl3 iq$ 6-7 ; Burnet, i. CS5 ; 

Jan 'J, ' 

Life of James the Second, ii. 102 ; Treasury Warrant Book, December 29, 168G. 


New Testaments, the Martyrologies of Eusebius and of Fox, 
were ransacked to find parallels for his heroic piety. He was 
Daniel in the den of Lions, Shadrach in the fiery furnace, 
Peter in the dungeon of Herod, Paul at the bar of Nero, 
Ignatius in the amphitheatre, Latimer at the stake. Among 
the many facts which prove that the standard of honour and 
virtue among the public men of that age was low, the admiration 
excited by Rochester's constancy is, perhaps, the most decisive. 
In his fall he draped down Clarendon. On the seventh 
of January 1687, the Gazette announced to the people, of 
London that the Treasury was put into commission. On the 
eighth arrived at Dublin a despatch formally signifying that 
in a month Tyrconnel would assume the government of Ire- 
land. It was not without great difficulty that this man had 
surmounted the numerous impediments which stood in the 
way of his ambition. It was well known that the extermina- 
tion of the English colony in Ireland was the object on which 
his heart was set. He had, therefore, to overcome some 
scruples in the royal mind. He had to surmount the opposi- 
tion, not merely of all the Protestant members of the govern- 
ment, not merely of the moderate and respectable heads of 
the Roman Catholic body, but even of several members of 
the Jesuitical cabal.* Sunderland shrank from the thought 
of an Irish revolution, religious, political, and social. To the 
Queen Tyrconnel was personally an object of aversion. Powis 
was therefore suggested as the man best qualified for the 
viceroyalty. He was of illustrious birth : he was a sincere 
Roman Catholic ; and yet he was generally allowed by candid 
Protestants to be an honest man and a good Englishman. All 
opposition, however, yielded to Tyrconnel's energy and cunning. 
He fawned, bullied, and bribed indefatigably. Petre's help was 
secured by flattery. Sunderland was plied at once with prom- 

* Bishop Malony in a letter to Bishop Tyrrcl says, " Never a Catholic or other 
English will ever think or make a step, nor suiTer the King to make a step for 
your restauration, but leave you as you were hitherto, ami leave your enemies 
«>ver your heads ; nor is there any Englishman. Catholic or other, of what quality 
or degree soever alive, that will stick to sacrifice all Ireland for to .save the least 
interest of his own in England, and would as willingly see all Ireland over inhab- 
ited by English of whatsoever religion as by the Irish." 


ises and menaces. An immense price was offered for his sup- 
port, no less than an annuity of five thousand pounds a year from 
Ireland, redeemable by payment of fifty thousand pounds down. 
If this proposal were rejected, Tyrconnel threatened to let th& 
King know that the Lord President had, at the Friday dinners, 
described His Majesty as a fool who must be governed either by 
a woman or by a priest. Sunderland, pale and trembling, 
offered to procure for Tyrconnel supreme military command, 
enormous appointments, anything but the viceroyalty : but all 
compromise was rejected ; and it was necessary to yield. Mary 
of Modena herself was not free from suspicion of corruption. 
There was in London a renowned chain of pearls which was 
valued ai ten thousand pounds. It had belonged to Prince 
Rupert ; and by him it had been left to Margaret Hughes, a 
courtesan who, towards the close of his life, had exercised a 
boundless empire over him. Tyrconnel loudly boasted that with 
this chain he had purchased the support of the Queen. There 
were those however, who suspected that this story was one of 
Dick Talbot's truths, and that it had no more foundation than 
the calumnies which, twenty-six years before, he had invented 
to blacken the fame of Anne Hyde. To the Roman Catholic 
courtiers generally he spoke of the uncertain tenure by which 
they held offices, honours, and emoluments. The King might 
die tomorrow, and might leave them at the mercy of a hostile 
government and a hostile rabble. But, if the old faith could be 
made dominant in Ireland, if the Protestant interest in that 
country could be destroyed, there would still be, in the worst event, 
an asylum at hand to which they might retreat, and where they 
might either negotiate or defend themselves with advantage. A 
Popish priest was hired with the promise of the mitre of Water- 
ford to preach at Saint James's against the Act of Settlement ; 
and his sermon, though heard with deep disgust by the English 
part of the auditory, was not without its effect. The struggle 
which patriotism had for a time maintained against bigotry in 
the royal mind was at an end. " There is work to be done in 
Ireland," said James, " which no Englishman will do." * 
* The best account of these transactions is in the Sheridan MS. 


All obstacles were at length removed ; and in February 
1687, Tyrconnel began to rule his native country with the power 
and appointments of Lord Lieutenant, but with the humbler title 
of Lord Deputy. 

His arrival spread dismay through the whole English popu- 
lation. Clarendon was accompanied, or speedily followed, across 
Saint George's Channel, by a large proportion of the most re- 
spectable inhabitants of Dublin, gentlemen, tradesmen, and 
artificers. It was said that fifteen hundred families emigrated 
in a few days. The panic was not unreasonable. The work 
of putting the colonists down under the feet of the natives went 
rapidly on. In a short time almost every Privy Councillor, 
Judge, Sheriff, Mayor, Alderman, and Justice of the Peace was 
a Celt and a Roman Catholic. It seemed that things would 
soon be ripe for a general election, and that a House of Com- 
mons bent on abrogating the Act of Settlement would easily be 
assembled.* Those who had lately been the lords of the island 
now cried out, in the bitterness of their souls, that they had be- 
come a prey and a laughing-stock to their own serfs and menials ; 
that houses were burnt and cattle stolen with impunity ; that 
the new soldiers roamed the country, pillaging, insulting, ravish- 
ing, maiming, tossing one Protestant in a blanket, tying up an- 
other by the hair and scourging him ; that to appeal to the law 
was vain ; that Irish Judges, Sheriffs, juries, and witnesses 
were all in a league to save Irish criminals ; and that, even 
without an Act of Parliament, the whole soil would soon change 
hands, for that, in every action of ejectment tried under the ad- 
ministration of Tyrconnel, judgment had been given for the 
native against the Englishman. f 

While Clarendon was at Dublin the Privy Seal had been in 
the hands of Commissioners. His friends hoped that it would, 
on his return to London, be again delivered to him. But the 
King and the Jesuitical cabal had determined that the disgrace 
of the Ilydes should be complete. Lord Arundell of Wardour, 

* Sheridan MS. ; Oldmixon's Memoirs of Ireland ; King's State of the Pro- 
testants of Ireland, particularly chapter iii. ; Apology for the Protestants of 
Ireland, 1080. 

t Secret Consults of tho Eomish Tarty iu Ireland, 1090. 


a Roman Catholic, obtained the Privy Seal. Bellasyse, a Roman 
Catholic, was made First Lord of the Treasury ; and Dover, an- 
other Roman Catholic, had a seat at the board. The appoint- 
ment of a ruined gambler to such a trust would alone have 
sufficed to disgust the public. The dissolute Etherege, who then 
resided at Ratisbon as English envoy, could not refrain from ex- 
pressing, with a sneer, his hope that his old boon companion, 
Dover, would keep the King's money better than his own. In 
order that the finances might not be ruined by incapable and 
inexperienced Papists, the obsequious, diligent and silent Go- 
dolphin was named a Commissioner of the Treasury, but con- 
tinued to be Chamberlain to the Queen.* 

The dismission of the two brothers is a great epoch in the 
rei°;n of James. From that time it was clear that what he 
really wanted was not liberty of conscience for the members of 
his own church, but liberty to persecute the members of other 
churches. Pretending to abhor tests, he had himself imposed a 
test. He thought it hard, he thought it monstrous, that able 
and loyal men should be excluded from the public service solely 
for being Roman Catholics. Yet he had himself turned out of 
office a Treasurer, whom he admitted to be both loyal and able, 
solely for being a Protestant. The cry was that a general pro- 
scription was at hand, and that every public functionary must 
make up his mind to lose his soul or to lose his place.f Who 
indeed could hope to stand where the Hydes had fallen ? They 
were the brothers in law of the King, the uncles and natural 
guardians of his children, his friends from early youth, his steady 
adherents in adversity and peril, his obsequious servants since 
he had been on the throne. Their sole crime was their religion ; 
and for this crime they had been discarded. In great perturba- 
tion men began to look round for help ; and soon all eyes were 
fixed on one whom a rare concurrence both of personal qualities 
and of fortuitous circumstances pointed out as the deliverer. 

* London Gazette, Jan. 6, and March 14, 1G8 6-7 ; Evelyn's Diary, March 10. 
Etherege's letter to Dover is in the British Museum. 

t " Pare che gli animi sono inaspriti della voce che corre per il popolo, d'esser 
cacciato il dctto ministro per non essere Cattolico, percid tirarsi al esterminio de' 
Protestanti."— Adda, P t £^3_ 1687. 

Jan. 10. 



The place which William Henry, Prince of Orange Nassau, 
occupies in the history of England and of mankind is so great 
that it may be desirable to portray with some minuteness the 
strong lineaments of his character. * 

He was now in his thirty -seventh year. But both in body 
and in mind he was older than other men of the same ase. In- 
deed it might be said that he had never been young. His exter- 
nal appearance is almost as well known to us as to his own cap- 
tains and counsellors. Sculptors, painters, and medallists ex- 
erted their utmost skill in the work of transmitting his features 
to posterity ; and his features were such as no artist could fail to 
seize, and such as, once seen, could never be forgotten. His 
name at once calls up before us a slender and feeble frame, a 
lofty and ample forehead, a nose curved like the beak of an eagle, 
an eye rivalling that of an eagle in brightness and keenness, a 
thoughtful and somewhat sullen brow, a firm and somewhat 
peevish mouth, a cheek pale, thin, and deeply furrowed by sick- 
ness and by care. That pensive, severe, and solemn aspect could 
scarcely have belonged to a happy or a goodhumoured man. But 
it indicates in a manner not to be mistaken capacity equal to the 
most arduous enterprises, and fortitude not to be shaken by re- 
verses or dangers. 

Nature had largely endowed William with the qualities of 

* The chief materials from which I have taken my description of the Prince of 
Orange will be found in Burnet's History, in Temple's and Gourville's Memoirs, 
In the Negotiations of the Counts of Estrades and Avaux, in Sir George Down- 
ing's Letters to Lord Chancellor Clarendon, in Wagenaar's voluminous History, 
in Van (Camper's Karakterkunde der Vaderlandsche Geschiedenis, and. above all, 
in William's own confidential correspondence, of which the Duko of Portland 
permitted .Sir James Mackintosh to take a copy. 


a great ruler ; and education had developed those qualities in no 
common degree. With strong natural sense, and rare force of 
will, he found himself, when first his mind began to open, a 
fatherless and motherless child, the chief of a great but depressed 
and disheartened party, and the heir to vast and indefinite pre- 
tensions, which excited the dread and aversion of the oligarchy 
then supreme in the United Provinces. The common people, 
fondly attached during three generations to his house, indicated, 
whenever they saw him, in a manner not to be mistaken, that 
they regarded him as their rightful head. The able and ex- 
perienced ministers of the republic, mortal enemies of his name, 
came every day to pay their feigned civilities to him, and 
to observe the progress of his mind. The first movements 
of his ambition were carefully watched : every unguarded word 
uttered by him was noted down ; nor had he near him any 
adviser on whose judgment reliance could be placed. He was 
scarcely fifteen years old when all the domestics who were 
attached to his interest, or who enjoyed any share of his con- 
fidence, were removed from under his roof by the jealous govern- 
ment. He remonstrated with energy beyond his years, but in 
vain. Vigilant observers saw the tears more than once rise in 
the eyes of the young state prisoner. His health, naturally deli- 
cate, sank for a time under the emotions which his desolate sit- 
uation had produced. Such situations bewilder and unnerve the 
weak, but call forth all the strength of the strong. Surrounded 
by snares in which an ordinary youth would have peri-shed, 
William learned to tread at once warily and firmly. Long before lie 
reached manhood, he knew how to keep secrets, how to baffle cu- 
riosity by dry and guarded answers ; how to conceal all passions 
under the same show of grave tranquillity. Meanwhile he made 
little proficiency in fashionable or literary accomplishments. The 
manners of the Dutch nobility of that age wanted the grace which 
was found in the highest perfection among the gentlemen of 
France, and which, in an inferior degree, embellished the Court 
of England ; and his manners were altogether Dutch. Even his 
countrymen thought him blunt. To foreigners he often seemed 
churlish. In his intercourse with the world in general he appeared 


ignorant or negligent of those arts which double the value of a 
favour and take away the sting of a refusal. He was little in- 
terested in letters or science. The discoveries of Newton and 
Liebnitz, the poems of Dryden and Boileau, were unknown to 
him. Dramatic performances tired him, and he was glad to turn 
away from the stage and to talk about public affairs, while Ores- 
tes was raving, or while Tartuffe was pressing Elmira's hand. 
He had indeed some talent for sarcasm, and not seldom employed, 
quite unconsciously, a natural rhetoric, quaint, indeed, but vig- 
orous, and original. He did not, however, in the least affect 
the character of a wit or of an orator. His attention had been 
confined to those studies which form strenuous and sagacious 
men of business. From a child he listened with interest when 
high questions of alliance, finance, and war were discussed. Of 
geometry he learned as much as was necessary for the construc- 
tion of a ravelin or a hornwork. Of languages, by the help 
of a memory singularly powerful, he learned as much as was 
necessary to enable him to comprehend and answer without 
assistance everything that was said to him and every letter which 
he received. The Dutch was his own tongue. With the French 
he was not less familiar. He understood Latin, Italian, and 
Spanish. He spoke and wrote English and German, inelegantly, 
it is true, and inexactly, but fluently and intelligibly. No qual- 
ification could be more important to a man whose life was to be 
passed in organising great alliances, and in commanding armies 
assembled from different countries. 

One class of philosophical questions had been forced on his 
attention by circumstances, and seems to have interested him 
more than might have been expected from his general charac- 
ter. Among the Protestants of the United Provinces, as among 
the Protestants of our island, there were two great religious 
parties which almost exactly coincided with two great political 
parties. The chiefs of the municipal oligarchy were Arminians, 
and were commonly regarded by the multitude as little better 
than Papists. The princes of Orange had generally been the 
patrons of the Calvinistic divinity, and owed no small part of 
their popularity to their zeal for the doctrines of election and 


final perseverance, a zeal not always enlightened by knowledge 
or tempered by humanity. William had been carefully in- 
structed from a child in the theological system to which his 
family was attached ; and he regarded that system with even 
more than the partiality which men generally feel for a hered- 
itary faith. He had ruminated on the great enigmas which 
had been discussed in the Synod of Dort, and had found in the 
austere and inflexible logic of the Genevese school something 
which suited his intellect and his temper. That example of 
intolerance indeed which some of his predecessors had set he 
never imitated. For all persecution he felt a fixed aversion 
which he avowed, not only where the avowal was obviously 
politic, but on occasions where it seemed that his interest 
would have been promoted by dissimulation or by silence. 
His theological opinions, however, were even more decided 
than those of his ancestors. The tenet of predestination was 
the keystone of his religion. He often declared that, if he 
were to abandon that tenet, he must abandon with it all belief 
in a superintending Providence, and must become a mere 
Epicurean. Except in this single instance, all the sap of his 
vigorous mind was early drawn away from the speculative to 
the practical. The faculties which are necessary for the con- 
duct of important business ripened in him at a time of life when 
they have scarcely begun to blossom in ordinary men. Since 
Octavius the world had seen no such instance of precocious 
statesmanship. Skilful diplomatists were surprised to hear the 
weighty observations which at seventeen the Prince made on 
public affairs, and still more surprised to see a lad, in situations 
in which he might have been expected to betray strong passion, 
preserve a composure as imperturbable as their own. At eigh- 
teen he sate among the fathers of the commonwealth, grave, 
discreet, and judicious as the oldest among them. At twenty- 
one, in a day of gloom and terror, he was placed at the head 
of the administration. At twenty-three he was renowned through- 
out Europe as a soldier and a politician. He had put domes- 
tic factions under his feet : he was the soul of a mighty coali- 
tion ; and he had contended with honour in the field against 
some of the greatest generals of the age. 


His personal tastes were those rather of a warrior than of a 
statesman ; but he, like his great-grandfather, the silent prince 

who founded the Batavian commonwealth, occupies a far higher 
place among statesmen than among warriors. The event of 
battles, indeed, is not an unfailing test of the abilities of a com- 
mander ; and it would be peculiarly unjust to apply this test 
to William ; for it was his fortune to be almost always opposed 
to captains who were consummate masters of their art, and to 
troops far superior in discipline to his own. Yet there is reason 
to believe that he was by no means equal, as a general in the 
field, to some who ranked far below him in intellectual 
powers. To those whom he trusted he spoke on this 
subject with the magnanimous frankness of a man who had 
done great things, and who could well afford to acknowl- 
edge some deficiencies. He had never, he said, served 
an apprenticeship to the military profession. lie had been 
placed, while still a boy, at the head of an army. i\mong his 
officers there had been none competent to instruct him. His 
own blunders and their consequences had been his only lessons. 
" I would give," he once exclaimed, " a good part of my estates 
to have served a few campaigns under the Prince of Condo 
before I had to command against him." It is not improbable 
that the circumstance which prevented William from attaining 
any eminent dexterity in strategy may have been favourable 
to the general vigour of his intellect. If his battles were 
not those of a great tactician, they entitled him to be called a 
great man. No disaster could for one moment deprive him of 
his firmness or of the entire possession of all his faculties. His 
defeats were repaired with such marvellous celerity that, before 
his enemies had sung the Te Deum, he was again ready for the 
conflict; nor did his adverse fortune ever deprive him of 
the respect and confidence of his soldiers. That respect and 
confidence he owed in no small measure to his personal 
courage. Courage, in the degree which is necessary to carry a 
soldier without disgrace through a campaign, is possessed, or 
might, under proper training, be acquired, by the great majority 
u£ men. But courage like that of William is rare indeed. Ho 


was proved by every test ; by war, by wounds, by painful and 
depressing maladies, by raging seas, by the imminent and constant 
risk of assassination, a risk which has shaken very strong nerves, 
a risk which severely tried even the adamantine fortitude of 
Cromwell. Yet none could ever discover what that thing was 
which the Prince of Orange feared. His advisers could with 
difficulty induce him to take any precaution against the pistols 
and daggers of conspirators.* Old sailors were amazed at tho 
composure which he preserved amidst roaring breakers on a peril- 
ous coast. In battle his bravery made him conspicuous even 
among tens of thousands of brave warriors, drew forth the gen- 
erous applause of hostile armies, and was scarcely ever ques- 
tioned even by the injustice of hostile factions. During his first 
campaigns he exposed himself like a man who sought for death, 
was always foremost in the charge and last in the retreat, fought 
sword in hand, in the thickest press, and, with a musket ball 
in his arm and the blood streaming over his cuirass, still stood 
his ground and waved his hat under the hottest fire. His 
friends adjured him to take more care of a life invaluable to his 
country ; and his most illustrious antagonist, the great Conde, 
remarked, after the bloody day of Seneff, that the Prince of 
Orange had in all things borne himself like an old general, except 
in exposing himself like a young soldier. William denied that 
he was guilty of temerity. It was, he said, from a sense of duty 
and on a cool calculation of what the public interest required, 
that he was always at the post of danger. The troops which he 
commanded had been little used to war, and shrank from a 
close encounter with the veteran soldiery of France. It was 
necessary that their leader should show them how battles were 
to be won. And in truth more than one day which had seemed 
hopelessly lost was retrieved by the hardihood with which he 

* William was earnestly entreated by his friends, after the peace of Ryswick, 
to speak seriously to the French ambassador about tho schemes of. assassination 
which the Jacobites of Saint Germain's were constantly contriving. The cold 
magnanimity with which these intimations of danger were received is singularly 
characteristic To Bentinck, who had sent from Paris very alarming intelli- 
gence, William merely replied, at the end of a long letter of business, — "Pour les 
assasins je ne luy en ay pas voulu parler, croiant que c'etoit au desous de moy." 
May JL, 1G98. I keep the original orthography, if it is to bo so called. 


rallied Ills broken battalions and cut down the cowards who set 
the example of flight. Sometimes, however, it seemed that he 
had a strange pleasure in venturing his person. It was remarked 
that his spirits were never so high and his manners never so 
gracious and easy as amidst the tumult and carnage of a battle. 
Even in his pastimes he liked the excitement of danger. Cards, 
chess, and billiards gave him no pleasure. The chase was his 
favourite recreation ; and he loved it most when it was most 
hazardous His leaps were sometimes such that his boldest com- 
panions did not like to follow him. He seems even to have thought 
the most hardy field sports of England effeminate, and to have 
pined in the great park of Windsor for the game which he had 
been used to drive to bay in the forests of Guelders, wolves, and 
wild boars, and hu^e stajjs with sixteen antlers.* 

The audacity of his spirit was the more remarkable because 
his physical organisation was unusually delicate. From a child 
he had been weak and sickly. In the prime of manhood his 
complaints had been aggravated by a severe attack of smallpox. 
He was asthmatic and consumptive. His slender frame was 
shaken by a constant hoarse cough. He could not sleep unless 
his head was propped by several pillows, and could scarcely draw 
his breath in any but the purest air. Cruel headaches frequently 
tortured him. Exertion soon fatigued him. The physicians 
constantly kept up the hopes of his enemies by fixing some date 
beyond which, if there were anything certain in medical science, 
it was impossible that his broken constitution could hold out. 
Yet, through a life which was one long disease, the force of his 
mind never failed, on any great occasion, to bear up his suffer- 
ing and languid body. 

lie was born with violent passions and quick sensibilities : 
but the strength of his emotions was not suspected by the world. 
From the multitude his joy and his grief, his affection and 

* From Windsor he wrote to Bentinck, then ambassador at Paris. " J'ay 
pris avant hier op cerf dans la forest avec les chains du Pr. de Denm. et ay fait 

un assez jolie ehasse, autant que ce vilain paiis le permest." j^ntO. 1 ' 1G?S ' ^ lie 
spelling is bad, but not worse than Napoleon's. William wrote in better burner 
from Loo. "Nous avons pris d»mx gros cerfs, le premier dans Dorewnert, qui 

f Oct °"» 

est un des plus gros que je sache avoir jamais pris. II porte seize." " " 1697. 


his resentment, were hidden by a phlegmatic serenity, which 
made him pass for the most coldblooded of mankind. Those 
who brought him good news could seldom detect any sign of 
pleasure. Those who saw him after a defeat looked in vain for 
any trace of vexation. He praised and reprimanded, rewarded 
and punished, with the stern tranquillity of a Mohawk chief : 
but those who knew him well and saw him near were aware 
that under all this ice a fierce fire was constantly burning. It 
was seldom that anger deprived him of power over himself. 
But when he was really enraged the first outbreak of his passion 
was terrible. It was indeed scarcely safe to approach him. 
On these rare occasions, however, as soon as he regained his 
selfcommand, he made such ample reparation to those whom 
he had wronged as tempted them to wish that he would go into 
a fury again. His affection was as impetuous as his wrath. 
Where he loved, he loved with the whole energy of his strong 
mind. When death separated him from what he loved, the few 
who witnessed his agonies trembled for his reason and his life. 
To a very small circle of intimate friends, on whose fidelity and 
secrecy he could absolutely depend, he was a different man from 
the reserved and stoical William whom the multitude supposed 
to be destitute of human feelings. He was kind, cordial, open, 
even convivial and jocose, would sit at table many hours, and 
would bear his full share in festive conversation. Highest in 
his favour stood a gentleman of his household named Bentinck, 
sprung from a noble Batavian race, and destined to be the 
founder of one of the great patrician houses of England. The 
fidelity of Bentinck had been tried by no common test. It was 
while the United Provinces were struggling for existence against 
the French power that the young Prince on whom all their 
hopes were fixed was seized by the smallpox. That disease 
had been fatal to many members of his family, and at first wore, 
in his case, a peculiarly malignant aspect. The public conster- 
nation was great. The streets of the Hague were crowded 
from daybreak to sunset by persons anxiously asking how His 
Highness was. At length his complaint took a favourable turn. 
His escape was attributed partly to his own singular equanimity, 


and partly to the intrepid and indefatigable friendship of Ben- 
thick. From the hands of Bentinck alone William took food 
and medicine. By Bentinck alone William was lifted from his 
bed and laid down in it. " Whether Bentinck slept or not 
while I was ill," said William to Temple, with great tenderness, 
" I know not. But this I know, that, through sixteen days and 
nights, I never once called for anything but that Bentinck was 
instantly at my side." Before the faithful servant had entirely 
performed his task, he had himstlf caught the contagion. Still, 
however, he bore up against drowsiness and fever till his master 
was pronounced convalescent. Then, at length, Bentinck asked 
leave to go home. It was time : for his limbs would no longer 
support him. He was in great danger, but recovered, and as 
soon as he left his bed, hastened to the army, where, during 
many sharp campaigns, he was ever found, as he had been in 
peril of a different kind, close to William's side. 

Such was the origin of a friendship as warm and pure as 
any that ancient or modern history records. The descendants of 
Bentinck still preserve many letters written by William to their 
ancestor : and it is not too much to say that no person who has 
not studied those letters can form a correct notion of the Prince's 
character. He, whom even his admirers generally accounted 
the most distant and frigid of men, here forgets all distinctions 
of rank, and pours out all his thoughts with the ingenuousness 
of a schoolboy. He imparts without reserve secrets of the highest 
moment. He explains with perfect simplicity vast designs affect- 
ing all the governments of Europe. Mingled with his communi- 
cations on such subjects are other communications of a very 
different, but perhaps not of a less interesting kind. All his 
adventures, all his personal feelings, his long runs after enor- 
mous stags, his carousals on Saint Hubert's day, the growth of 
his plantations, the failure of his melo>is, the state of his stud, 
his wish to procure an easy pad nag for his wife, his vexation 
at learning that one of his household, after ruining a girl of good 
family, refused to marry her, his fits of sea sickness, his coughs, 
his headaches, his devotional moods, his gratitude for the divine 
protection after a great escape, his struggles to submit himself to 


the divine will after a disaster, are described with an admirable 
garrulity hardly to have been expected from the most discreet 
and sedate statesman of the age. Still more remarkable is the 
careless effusion of his tenderness, and the brotherly interest 
which he takes in his friend's domestic felicity. When an heir 
is born to Bentinck, " he will live, I hope," says William, " to 
be as good a fellow as you are ; and if I should have a son, our 
children will love each other, I hope, as we have done." * 
Through life he continues to regard the little Bentincks with 
paternal kindness. He calls them by endearing diminutives : he 
takes charge of them in their father's absence, and though vexed 
at being forced to refuse them any pleasure, will not suffer them 
to go on a hunting party, where there would be risk of a push 
from a stag's horn, or to sit up late at night at a riotous sup- 
per, "f* When their mother is taken ill in her husband's absence, 
William, in the midst of business of the highest moment, finds 
time to send off several expresses in one day with short notes 
containing intelligence of her state. $ On one occasion, when 
she is pronounced out of danger after a severe attack, the 
Prince breaks forth into fervent expressions of gratitude to 
God. " I write," he says, '* with tears of joy in my eyes." § 
There is a singular charm in such letters, penned by a man 
whose irresistible energy and inflexible firmness extorted the 
respect of his enemies, whose cold and ungracious demeanour 
repelled the attachment of almost all his jmrtisans, and whose 
mind was occupied by gigantic schemes which have changed the 
face of the world. 

His kindness was not misplaced. Bentinck was early pro- 
nounced by Temple to be the best and truest servant that ever 
prince had the good fortune to possess, and continued through 
life to merit that honourable character. The friends were in- 
deed made for each other. William wanted neither a guide 

* March 3, 1679. 

t " Voila en peu de mot le detail de nostre St. Hubert. Et j'ay eu soin que 
M. Woodstoc " (Bentinck's eldest son) '* n'a point este a la cliasse, bien moin an 
soupe, quoyqu'il fut icy. Vous pouvez pourtant croire que de n'avoir pas chasse 
l'a uu peu mortifie, mais je ne l'ay pas ause prendre sur moy, puisque vous 
m'aviez dit que vous ne le souhaitiez' pas." From Loo, Nov. 4, 1C97. 

X On the 15th of June, 1688. § September 6, 1679. 

Vol. IE— U 


nor a flatterer. Having a firm and just reliance on his own 
judgment, he was not partial to counsellors who dealt much in 
suggestions and objections. At the same time he had too much 
discernment and too much elevation of mind, to be gratified by 
sycophancy. The confidant of such a prince ought to be a 
man, not of inventive genius or commanding spirit, but brave 
and faithful, capable of executing orders punctually, of keeping 
secrets inviolably, of observing facts vigilantly, and of reporting 
them truly • and such a man was Bentinck. 

William was not less fortunate in marriage than in friend- 
ship. Yet his marriage had not at first promised much domes- 
tic happiness. His choice had been determined chiefly by 
political considerations : nor did it seem likely that any strong 
affection would grow up between a handsome girl of sixteen, 
well disposed indeed, and naturally intelligent, but ignorant and 
simple, and a bridegroom who, though he had not completed 
his twenty-eighth year, was in constitution older than her father, 
whose manner was chilling, and whose head was constantly oc- 
cupied by public business or by field sports. For a time William 
was a negligent husband. He was indeed drawn away from his 
wife by other women, particularly by one of her ladies, Eliz- 
abeth Villiers, who, though destitute of personal attractions and 
disfigured by a hideous squint, possessed talents which fitted 
her to partake his cares.* He was indeed ashamed of his errors, 
and spared no pains to conceal them : but, in spite of all his 
precautions, Mary well knew that he was not strictly faithful to 
her. Spies and talebearers, encouraged by her father, did their 
best to inflame her resentment. A man of a very different 
character, the excellent Ken, who was her chaplain at the 
Hague during some months, was so much incensed by her 
wrongs that he, with more zeal than discretion, threatened to 
reprimand her husband severely. f She, however, bore her in- 
juries with a meekness and patience which deserved, and 
gradually obtained, William's esteem and gratitude. Yet 

* See Swift's account of her in the Journal to Stella. 

t Henry Sidney's Journal of March 31, 1G80, in Mr. Blencowe's interesting 


there still remained one cause of estrangement. A time would 
probably come when the Princess, who had been educated only 
to work embroidery, to play on the spinet and to read the Bible 
and the Whole Duty of Man, would be the chief of a great 
monarchy, and would hold the balance of Europe, while her 
lord, ambitious, versed in affairs, and bent on great enterprises, 
would find in the British government no place marked out for 
him, and would hold power only from her bounty and during 
her pleasure. It is not strange that a man so fond of authority 
as William, and so conscious of a genius for command, should 
have strongly felt that jealousy which, during a few hours of 
royalty, put dissension between Guildford Dudley and the Lady 
Jane, and which produced a rupture still more tragical between 
Darnley and the Queen of Scots. The Princess of Orange had 
not the faintest suspicion of her husband's feelings. Her pre- 
ceptor, Bishop Compton, had instructed her carefully in religion, 
and had especially guarded her mind against the arts of Roman 
Catholic divines, but had left her profoundly ignorant of the 
English constitution and of her own position. She knew that 
her marriage vow bound her to obey her husband ; and it had 
never occurred to her that the relation in which they stood to 
each other might one day be inverted. She had been nine years 
married before she discovered the cause of William's discontent; 
nor would she ever have learned it from himself. In general 
his temper inclined him rather to brood over his griefs than to give 
utterance to them ; and in this particular case his lips were sealed 
by a very natural delicacy. At length a complete explanation 
and reconciliation were brought about by the agency of Gilbert 

The fame of Burnet has been attacked with singular malice 
and pertinacity. The attack began early in his life, and is still 
carried on with undiminished vigour, though he has now been more 
than a century and a quarter in his grave. He is indeed as fair a 
mark as factious animosity and petulant wit could desire. The 
faults of his understanding and temper lie on the surface, and 
cannot be missed. They were not the faults which are ordina- 
rily considered as belonging to his country. Alone among the 


many Scotchmen who have raised themselves to distinction and 
prosperity in England, he had that character which satirists, 
novelists, and dramatists have agreed to ascribe to Irish adven- 
turers. His high animal spirits, his boastfulness, his undissem- 
bled vanity, his propensity to blunder, his provoking indiscre- 
tion, his unabashed audacity, afforded inexhaustible subjects of 
ridicule to the Tories. Nor did his enemies omit to compliment 
him, sometimes with more pleasantry than delicacy, on the 
breadth of his shoulders, the thickness of his calves, and his success 
in matrimonial projects on amorous and opulent widows. Yet 
Burnet, though open in many respects to ridicule, and even to 
serious censure, was no contemptible man. His parts were 
quick, his industry unwearied, his reading various and most ex- 
tensive. He was at once an historian, an antiquary, a theologian, 
a preacher, a pamphleteer, a debater, and an active political 
leader; and in every one of these characters he made himself 
conspicuous among able competitors. The many spirited tracts 
which he wrote on passing events are now known only to the curi- 
ous ; but his History of his own Times, his History of the Refor- 
mation, his Exposition of the Articles, his Discourse of Pastoral 
Care, his Life of Hale, his Life of Wilmot, are still reprinted, nor 
is any good private library without them. Against such a fact as 
this all the efforts of detractors are vain. A writer, whose volu- 
minous works, in several branches of literature, find numerous 
readers a hundred and thirty years after his death, may have had 
great faults, but must also have had great merits : and Burnet had 
great merits, a fertile and vigorous mind, and a style, far indeed re- 
moved from faultless purity, but generally clear, often lively, and 
sometimes rising to solemn and fervid eloquence. In the pulpit the 
effect of his discourses, which were delivered without any note, was 
heightened by a noble figure and pathetic action. He was often 
interrupted by the deep hum of his audience ; and when after 
preaching out the hourglass, which in those days was part of the 
furniture of the pulpit, he held it up in his hand, the congrega- 
tion clamorously encouraged him to go on till the sand had run off 
once more.* In his moral character, as in his intellect, great blem- 
* Speaker Onslow's note on Buruet, i. 59G ; Johnson's Life of Sprat. 


ishes were more than compensated by great excellence. Though 
often misled by prejudice and passion, he was emphatically an 
honest man. Though he was not secure from the seductions 
of vanity, his spirit was raised high above the influence both of 
cupidity and of fear. His nature was kind, generous, grateful, 
forgiving.* His religious zeal, though steady and ardent, was iu 
general restrained by humanity, and by a respect for the rights 
of conscience. Strongly attached to what he regarded as the 
spirit of Christianity, he looked with indifference on rites, names, 
and forms of ecclesiastical polity, and was by no means disposed 
to be severe even on infidels and heretics whose lives were pure, 
and whose errors appeared to be the effect rather of some per- 
version of the understanding than of the depravity of the heart. 
But, like many other good men of that age, he regarded the 
case of the Church of Rome as an exception to all ordinary 

Burnet had during some years enjoyed an European reputa- 
tion. His History of the Reformation had been received with 
loud applause by all Protestants, and had been felt by the Ro- 
man Catholics as a severe blow. The greatest Doctor that the 
Church of Rome has produced since the schism of the sixteenth 
century, Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, was engaged in framing an 
elaborate reply. Burnet had been honoured by a vote of thanks 
from one of the zealous Parliaments which had sate during the 
excitement of the Popish plot, and had been exhorted, in the 
name of the Commons of England, to continue his historical re- 
searches. He had been admitted to familiar conversation both 

* No person has contradicted Burnet more frequently or with more asperity 
than Dartmouth. Yet Dartmouth wrote, '' I do not think he designedly pub- 
lished anything he believed to be false." At a later period Dartmouth, provoked 
by some remarks on himself in the second volume of the Bishop's history, re- 
tracted this praise : but to such a retractation little importance can be attached. 
Even Swift has the justice to say, ''After all, he was a man of generosity and 
good-nature-"— Short Remarks on Bishop Burnet's History. 

It i3 usual to censure Burnet as a singularly inaccurate historian ; but I be- 
lieve the charge to be altogether unjust. He appears to be singularly inaccurate 
only because Ips narrative has been subjected to a scrutiny singularly severe and 
unfriendK If any ^Y'hi« thought it worth while to subject Reresby's Memoirs, 
North's Examen, Mulgrave's Account of the Revolution, or the Life of James 
the Second, to a similar scrutiny, it would soon anpear that Burnet was far in- 
deed from being the most inexact writer of his time. 


with Charles and James, had lived on terms of close intimacy 
with several distinguished statesmen, particularly with Halifax, 
and had heen the spiritual guide of some persons of the highest 
note. He had reclaimed from atheism and from licentiousness 
one of the most brilliant libertines of the age, John Wilmot, 
Earl of Rochester. Lord Stafford, the victim of Oates, had, 
though a Roman Catholic, been edified in his last hours by Bur- 
net's exhortations touching those points on which all Christians 
agree. A few years later a more illustrious sufferer, Lord Rus- 
sell, had been accompanied by Burnet from the Tower to the 
scaffold in Lincoln's Inn Fields. The Court had neglected no 
means of gaining so active and able a divine. Neither royal bland- 
ishments nor promises of valuable preferment had been spared. 
But Burnet, though infected in early youth by those servile doc- 
trines which were commonly held by the clergy of that age, had 
become on conviction a Whig ; and he firmly adhered through 
all viscissitudes to his principles. He had, however, no part in 
that conspiracy which brought so much disgrace and calamity 
on the Whig party, and not only abhorred the murderous de- 
signs of Goodenough and Ferguson, but was of opinion that even 
his beloved and honoured friend Russell had gone to unjustifi- 
able lengths against the government. A time at length arrived 
when innocence was not a sufficient protection. Burnet, though 
not guilty of any legal offence, was pursued by the vengeance of 
the Court. He retired to the Continent, and, after passing about 
a year in those wanderings through Switzerland, Italy and Ger- 
many, of which he has left us an agreeable narrative, reached the 
Hague in the summer of 168G, and was received there with kind- 
ness and respect. He had many free conversations with the 
Princess on politics and religion, and soon became her spiritual 
director and confidential adviser. William proved a much more 
gracious host than could have been expected. Of all faults of- 
ficiousness and indiscretion were the most offensive to him ; and 
Burnet was allowed even by friends and admirers to be the most 
officious and indiscreet of mankind. But the sagacious Prince 
perceived that this pushing talkative divine, who was always 
blabbing secrets, putting impertinent questions, obtruding un- 


asked advice, was nevertheless an upright, courageous and able 
man, well acquainted with the temper and the views of British 
sects and actions. The fame of Burnet's eloquence and erudi- 
tion was also widely spread. William was not himself a read- 
ing man. But he had now been many years at the head of the 
Dutch administration, in an age when the Dutch press was one 
of the most formidable engines by which the public mind of Eu- 
rope was moved, and, though he had no taste for literary pleas- 
ures, was far too wise and too observant to be ignorant of the 
value of literary assistance. He was aware that a popular pam- 
phlet might sometimes be of as much service as a victory in the 
field. He also felt the importance of having always near him 
some person well informed as to the civil and ecclesiastical pol- 
ity of our island : and Burnet was eminently qualified to be of 
use as a living dictionary of British affairs. For his knowledge, 
though not always accurate, was of immense extent ; and there 
were in England and Scotland few eminent men of any polit- 
ical or religious party with whom he had not conversed. He 
was therefore admitted to as large a share of favour and confi- 
dence as was granted to any but those who composed the very 
small inmost knot of the Prince's private friends. When the 
Doctor took liberties, which was not seldom the case, his patron 
became more than usually cold and sullen, and sometimes utter- 
ed a short dry sarcasm which would have struck dumb any per- 
son of ordinary assurance. In spite of such occurrences, how- 
ever, the amity between this singular pair continued, with some 
temporary interruptions, till it was dissolved by death. Indeed, 
it was not easy to wound Burnet's feelings. His selfcompla- 
cency, his animal spirits, and his want of tact, were such that, 
though he frequently gave offence, he never took it. 

All the peculiarities of his character fitted him to be the peace- 
maker between William and Mary. When persons who ought 
to esteem and love each other are kept asunder, as often hap- 
pens, by some cause which three words of frank explanation 
would remove, they are fortunate if they possess an indiscreet 
friend who blurts out the whole truth. Burnet plainly told the 
Princess what the feeling was which preyed upon her husband's 


mind. She learned for the first time, with no small astonishment, 
that, when she became Queen of England, William would not 
share her throne. She warmly declared that there was no proof 
of conjugal submission and affection which she was not ready to 
give. Burnet, with many apologies and with solemn protesta- 
tions that no human being had put words into his mouth, informed 
her that the remedy was in her own hands. She might easily, 
when the crown devolved on her, induce her Parliament not 
only to give the regal title to her husband, but even to transfer 
to him by a legislative act the administration of the government. 
" But," he added, " your Royal Highness ought to consider 
well before you announce any such resolution. For it is a reso- 
lution which, having once been announced, cannot safely or easily 
be retracted." " I want no time for consideration," answered 
Mary. " It is enough that I have an opportunity of showing 
my regard for the Prince. Tell him what I say ; and bring 
him to me that he may hear it from my own lips." Burnet 
went in quest of "William : but William was many miles off after 
a stag. It was not till the next day that the decisive interview 
took place. " I did not know till yesterday," said Mary, " that 
there was such a difference between the laws of England and 
the laws of God. But I now promise you that you shall always 
bear rule ; and, in return, I ask only this, that, as I shall observe 
the precept which enjoins wives to obey their husbands, you 
will observe that which enjoins husbands to love their wives." 
Her generous affection completely gained the heart of William. 
From that time till the sad day when he was carried away in 
fits from her dying bed, there was entire friendship and confi- 
dence between them. Many of her letters to him are extant ; 
and they contain abundant evidence that this man, unamiable as 
he was in the eyes of the multitude, had succeeded in inspiring a 
beautiful and virtuous woman, born his superior, with a passion 
fond even to idolatry. 

The service which Burnet had rendered to his country was 
of high moment. A time had arrived at which it was important 
to the public safety that there should be entire concord between 
the Prince and Princess. 


Till after the suppression of the Western insurrection grave 
causes of dissension had separated William from both Whigs and 
Tories. He had seen with displeasure the attempts of the Whigs 
to strip the executive government of some powers which he 
thought necessary to its efficiency and dignity. He had seen with 
still deeper displeasure the countenance given by a large section 
of that party to the pretensions of Monmouth. The opposition, 
it seemed, wished first to make the crown of England not worth 
the wearing, and then to place it on the head of a bastard and im- 
postor. At the same time the Prince's religious system differed 
widely from that which was the badge of the Tories. They were 
Arminians and Prelatists. They looked down on the Protestant 
Churches of the Continent, and regarded every line of their own 
liturgy and rubric as scarcely less sacred than the gospels. His 
opinions touching the metaphysics of theology were Calvinistic. 
His opinions touching ecclesiastical polity and modes of worship 
were latitudinarian. He owned that episcopacy was a lawful and 
convenient form of such government ; but he spoke with sharp- 
ness and scorn of the bigotry of those who thought episcopal ordi- 
nation essential to a Christian society. He had no scruple about 
the vestments and gestures prescribed by the book of Common 
Prayer. But he avowed that he should like the rites of the Church 
of England better if they reminded him less of the rites of the 
Church of Pome. He had been heard to utter an ominous growl 
when first he saw, in his wife's private chapel, an altar decked 
after the Anglican fashion, and had not seemed well pleased at 
finding her with Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity in her hands.* 

He therefore long observed the contest between the English 
factions attentively, but without feeling a strong predilection 
for either side. Nor in truth did he ever, to the end of his life, 
become either a Whig or a Tory. He wanted that which is the 
common groundwork of both characters ; for he never became 
an Englishman. He saved England, it is true ; but he never 
loved her ; and he never obtained her love. To him she was 
always a land of exile, visited with reluctance and quitted with 

* Dr. Hooper's MS. narrative, published in the Appendix to Lord Dungan- 
non'u Life of William. 


delight. Even when he rendered to her those services of which, 
at this day, we feel the happy effects, her welfare was not his 
chief object. Whatever patriotic feeling he had was for Hol- 
land. There was the stately tomb where slept the great politi- 
cian whose blood, whose name, whose temperament, and whose 
genius he had inherited. There the very sound of his title \v;i^ 
a spell which had, through three generations, called forth the 
affectionate enthusiasm of boors and artisans. The Dutch lan- 
guage was the language of his nursery. Among the Dutch gentry 
he had chosen his early friends. The amusements, the architecture, 
the landscape of his native country, had taken hold on his heart. 
To her he turned with constant fondness from a prouder and fairer 
rival. In the gallery of Whitehall he pined for the familiar 
House in the Wood at the Hague, and never was so happy as 
when he could quit the magnificence of Windsor for his far 
humbler seat at Loo. During his splendid banishment it was 
his consolation to create round him, by building, planting, and 
digging, a scene which might remind him of the formal piles of 
red brick, of the long canals, and of the symmetrical flower- 
beds among which his early life had been passed. Yet even 
his affection for the land of his birth was subordinate to another 
feeling which early became supreme in his soul, which mixed 
itself with all his passions, which impelled him to marvellous 
enterprises, which supported him when sinking under mortifica- 
tion, pain, sickness and sorrow, which, towards the close of his 
career, seemed during a short time to languish, but which soon 
broke forth again fiercer than ever, and continued to animate 
him even while the prayer for the departing was read at his bed- 
side. That feeling was enmity to France, and to the magnifi- 
cent King who, in more than one sense, represented France, and 
who to virtues and accomplishments eminently French joined 
in large measure that unquiet, unscrupulous, and vainglorious 
ambition which has repeatedly drawn on France the resentment 
of Europe. 

It is not difficult to trace the progress of the sentiment which 
gradually possessed itself of William's whole soul. When he 
was little more than a boy his country had been attacked by 


Lewis in ostentatious defiance of justice and public law, had been 
overrun, had been desolated, had been given up to every excess 
of rapacity, licentiousness, and cruelty. The Dutch had in 
dismay humbled themselves before the conqueror, and had im- 
plored mercy. They had been told in reply that, if they de- 
sired peace, they must resign their independence, and do annual 
homage to the House of Bourbon. The injured nation, driven to 
despair, had opened its dykes, and had called in the sea as an ally 
against the French tyranny. It was in the agony of that con- 
flict, when peasants were flying in terror before the invaders, 
when hundreds of fair gardens and pleasure houses were buried 
beneath the waves, when the deliberations of the States were 
interrupted by the fainting and the loud weeping of ancient sena- 
tors who could not bear the thought of surviving the freedom and 
glory of their native land, that William had been called to the 
head of affairs. For a time it seemed to him that resistance was 
hopeless. He looked round him for succour, and looked in vain. 
Spain was unnerved, Germany distracted, England corrupted. 
Nothing seemed left to the young Stadtholder but to perish 
sword in hand, or to be the iEneas of a great emigration, and 
to create another Holland in countries beyond the reach of the 
tyranny of France. No obstacle would then remain to check 
the progress of the House of Bourbon. A few years ; and that 
House might add to its dominions Lorraine and Flanders, Castile 
and Aragon, Naples and Milan, Mexico and Peru. Lewis might 
wear the imperial crown, might place a prince of his family on 
the throne of Poland, might be sole master of Europe from the 
Scythian deserts to the Atlantic Ocean, and of America from 
regions north of the Tropic of Cancer to regions south of the 
Tropic of Capricorn. Such was the prospect which lay before 
William when first he entered on public life, and which never 
ceased to haunt him till his latest day. The French monarchy 
was to him what the Roman republic was to Hannibal, what 
the Ottoman power was to Scanderbeg, what the Southron 
domination was to Wallace. Religion gave her sanction to 
that intense and unquenchable animosity. Hundreds of Calvin- 
istic preachers proclaimed that the same power which had set 


apart Samson from the womb to be the scourge of the Philis- 
tine, and which had called Gideon from the threshing floor to 
smite the Midianite, had raised up William of Orange to be 
the champion of all free nations and of all pure Churches ; nor 
was this notion without influence on his own mind. To the 
confidence which the heroic fatalist placed in his high destiny 
and in his sacred cause is to be partly attributed his singular 
indifference to danger. He had a great work to do ; and till it 
was done nothing could harm him. Therefore it was that, in 
spite of the prognostications of physicians, he recovered from 
maladies which seemed hopeless, that bands of assassins con- 
spired in vain against his life, that the open skiff to which he 
trusted himself on a starless night, amidst raging waves, and 
near a treacherous shore, brought him safe to land, and that, 
on twenty fields of battle, the cannon balls passed him by to 
right and left. The ardour and perseverance with which he 
devoted himself to his mission have scarcely any parallel in his- 
tory. In comparison with his great object he held lives of 
other men as cheap as his own. It was but too much the habit 
even of the most humane and generous soldiers of that age to 
think very lightly of the bloodshed and devastation inseparable 
from great martial exploits ; and the heart of "William was 
steeled, not only by professional insensibility, but by that 
sterner insensibility which is the effect of a sense of duty. 
Three great coalitions, three long and bloody wars in which all 
Europe from the Vistula to the Western Ocean was in arms, 
are to be ascribed to his unconquerable energy. When in 
1678 the States General, exhausted and disheartened, were de- 
sirous of. repose, his voice was still against sheathing the sword. 
If peace was made, it was made only because he could not 
breathe into other men a spirit as fierce and determined as his 
own. At the very last moment, in the hope of breaking off the 
negotiation which he knew to be all but concluded, he fought one 
of the most bloody and obstinate battles of that age. From the 
day on which the treaty of Nimeguen was signed, he began to 
meditate a second coalition. His contest with Lewis, trans- 
ferred from the field to the cabinet, was soon exasperated by a 



private feud. In talents, temper, manners, and opinions, the 
rivals were diametrically opposed to each other. Lewis, polite 
and dignified, profuse and voluptuous, fond of display and 
averse from danger, a munificent patron of arts and letters, and 
a cruel persecutor of Calvinists, presented a remarkable con- 
trast to William, simple in tastes, ungracious in demeanour, in- 
defatigable and intrepid in war, regardless of all the ornamental 
branches of knowledge, and firmly attached to the theology of 
Geneva. The enemies did not long observe those courtesies 
which men of their rank, even when opposed to each other at 
the head of armies, seldom neglect. William, indeed, went 
through the form of tendering his best services to Lewis. But 
this civility was rated at its true value, and requited with a dry 
reprimand. The great king affected contempt for the petty 
Prince who was the servant of a confederacy of trading towns ; 
and to every mark of contempt the dauntless Stadtholder re- 
plied by a fresh defiance. William took his title, a title which 
the events of the preceding century had made one of the most 
illustrious in Europe, from a city which lies on the banks of 
the Rhone not far from Avignon, and which, like Avignon, 
though enclosed on every side by the French territory, was 
properly a fief not of the French but of the Imperial Crown. 
Lewis, with that ostentatious contempt of public law which 
was characteristic of him, occupied Orange, dismantled the 
fortifications, and confiscated the revenues. William declared 
aloud at his table before many persons that he would make the 
most Christian King repent the outrage, and when questioned 
about these words by Lewis's Ambassador, the Count of Avaux, 
positively refused either to retract them or to explain them 
away. The quarrel was carried so far that the French minis- 
ter could not venture to present himself at the drawingroom of 
the Princess for fear of receiving some affront.* 

The feeling with which William regarded France explains 
the whole of his policy towards England. His public spirit 
Was an European public spirit. The chief object of his care 

* Avaui, Negotiations, Aug. $%, Sept. ££, Pffff ' Dee. tV, 16 *2. 


was not our island, not even his native Holland, but the great 
community of nations threatened with subjugation by one too 
powerful member. Those who commit the error of considering 
him as an English statesman must necessarily see his whole life 
in false light, and will be unable to discover any principle, good 
or bad, Whig or Tory, to which some of his most important 
acts can be referred. But, when we consider him as a man 
whose especial task was to join a crowd of feeble, divided and 
dispirited states in firm and energetic union against a common 
enemy, when we consider him as a man in whose eyes England 
was important chiefly because, without her, the great coalition 
which he projected must be incomplete, we shall be forced to 
admit that no long career recorded in history has been more 
uniform from the beginning to the close than that of this great 

The clue of which we are now possessed will enable us to 
track without difficulty the course, in reality consistent, though 
in appearance sometimes tortuous, which he pursued towards our 
domestic factions. He clearly saw what had not escaped per- 
sons far inferior to him in sagacity, that the enterprise on 
which his whole soul was intent would probably be successful 
if England were on his side, would be of uncertain issue if 
England were neutral, and would be hopeless if England acted 
as she had acted in the days of the Cabal. He saw not 
less clearly that between the foreign policy and the domestic 
policy of the English government there was a close connection ; 
that the sovereign of this country, acting in harmony with 
the legislature, must always have a great sway in the affairs of 
Christendom, and must also have an obvious interest in oppos- 
ing the undue aggrandisement of any Continental potentate ; 

* I cannot deny myself the pleasure of quoting Massillon's unfriendly, yet 
discriminating and noble, character of William. " Vn prince profond dans sea 
vues ; Labile a former des ligues et ;i reunir les esprits ; plus heureux a exciter 
les guerres qu'a combattre ; plus a craindre encore dans le secret du cabinet, 
qu'a latete des arrases ; un ennemi que la haine du nom Francais avoit rendu 
capable d'imaginer de grandes choses et de leg executor; un do ces genius qui 
semblent etre nes pour mouvoir a leur gre les peuples et les souverains ; un 
grand bonmie, s'il n'avoit jamais voulu etro roi."— Oraison Funebro do M. le 


that, on the other hand, the sovereign distrusted and thwarted 
by the legislature, could be of little weight in European poli- 
tics, and that the whole of that little weight would be thrown 
into the wrong scale. The Prince's first wish therefore was 
that there should be concord between the throne and the Par- 
liament. How that concord should be established, and on which 
side concessions should be made, were, in his view, questions of 
secondary importance. He would have been best pleased, no 
doubt, to see a complete reconciliation effected without the 
sacrifice of one tittle of the prerogative. For in the integrity of 
that prerogative he had a reversionary interest ; and he was, 
by nature, at least as covetous of power and as impatient of 
restraint as any of the Stuarts. But there was no flower of the 
crown which he was not prepared to sacrifice, even after the 
crown had been placed on his own head, if he could only be 
convinced that such a sacrifice was indispensably necessary to 
his great design. In the days of the Popish plot, therefore, 
though he disapproved of the violence with which the opposi- 
tion attacked the royal authority, he exhorted the government 
to give way. The conduct of the Commons, he said, as re- 
spected domestic affairs, was most unreasonable : but while the 
Commons were discontented the liberties of Europe could never 
be safe ; and to that paramount consideration every other con- 
sideration ought to yield. On these principles he acted when 
the Exclusion Bill had thrown the nation into convulsions. 
There is no reason to believe that he encouraged the opposition 
to bring forward that bill or to reject the offers of compromise 
which were repeatedly made from the throne. But when it 
became clear that, unless that bill were carried, there would be 
a serious breach between the Commons and the Court, he in- 
dicated very intelligibly, though with decorous reserve, his 
opinion that the representatives of the people ought to be con- 
ciliated at any price. When a violent and rapid reflux of pub- 
lic feeling had left the Whig party for a time utterly helpless, 
he attempted to attain his grand object by a new road perhaps 
more agreeable to his temper than that which he had previously 
tried. In the altered temper of the nation there was little 


chance that any Parliament disposed to cross the wishes of the 
sovereign would be elected. Charles was for a time master. 
To gain Charles, therefore, was the Prince's first wish. In 
the summer of 1 G83, almost at the moment at which the detec- 
tion of the Rye House plot made the discomfiture of the "Whigs, 
and the triumph of the King complete, events took place else- 
where which William could not behold without extreme anxiety 
and alarm. The Turkish armies advanced to the suburbs of 
Vienna. The great Austrian monarchy, on the support of which 
the Prince had reckoned, seemed to be on the point of de- 
struction. Bentinck was therefore sent in haste from the Hague 
to London, was charged to omit nothing which might be neces- 
sary to conciliate the English court, and was particularly in- 
structed to express in the strongest terms the horror with which 
his master regarded the Whig conspiracy. 

During the eighteen months which followed, there was some 
hope that the influence of Halifax would prevail, and that the 
court of Whitehall would return to the policy of the Triple 
Alliance. To that hope William fondly clung. He spared no 
effort to propitiate Charles. The hospitality which Monmouth 
found at the Hague is chiefly to be ascribed to the Prince's 
anxiety to gratify the real wishes of Monmouth's father. As 
soon as Charles died, William, still adhering unchangeably to 
his object, again changed his course. He had sheltered Mon- 
mouth, to please the late King. That the present King might 
have no reason to complain Monmouth was dismissed. We 
have seen that, when the Western insurrection broke out, the 
British regiments in the Dutch service were, by the active ex- 
ertions of the Prince, sent over to their own country on the 
first requisition. Indeed William even offered to command in 
person against the rebels ; and that the offer was made in per- 
fect sincerity cannot be doubted by those who have perused his 
confidential letters to Bentinck.* 

* For example, " Je crois M. Feversham tin tres brave et honeste homme. 
Mais je doute s'il a assez d'experience a diriger une si grande affaire qu'il a sur 
le bras. Dieu lui donne un succes prompt et heureux ! Mais je no suis pas bora 
d'Lau.uietude." July -=-"y, 1685. Again, after ho bad received the news of the 


The prince was evidently at this time inclined to hope that the 
great plan, to which in his mind everything else was subordinate, 
mi^ht obtain the approbation and support of his father in law. 
The high tone which James was then holding towards France, 
the readiness with which he consented to a defensive alliance 
with the United Provinces, the inclination which he showed to 
connect himself with the House of Austria, encouraged this ex- 
pectation. But in a short time the prospect was darkened. 
The disgrace of Halifax, the breach between James and the 
Parliament, the prorogation, the announcement distinctly made 
by the King to the foreign ministers that Continental politics 
should no longer divert his attention from internal measures 
tending to strengthen his prerogative and to promote the inter- 
est of his Church, put an end to the delusion. It was plain 
that, when the European crisis came, England would, if James 
were her master, either remain inactive or act in conjunction 
with France. And the European crisis was drawing near. The 
House of Austria had, by a succession of victories, been secured 
from danger on the side of Turkey, and was no longer under 
the necessity of submitting patiently to the encroachments and 
insults of Lewis. Accordingly, in July, 1686, a treaty was 
signed at Augsburg by which the Princes of the Empire bound 
themselves closely together for the purpose of mutual defence. 
The Kings of Spain and Sweden were parties to this compact, 
the King of Spain as sovereign of the provinces contained in 
the circle of Burgundy, and the King of Sweden as Duke of 
Pomerania. The confederates declared that they had no inten- 
tion to attack and no wish to offend any power, but that they 
were determined to tolerate no infraction of those rights which the 
germanic body held under the sanction of public law and public 
faith. They pledged themselves to stand by each other in case of 
need, and fixed the amount of force which each member of the 
league was to furnish if it should be necessary to repel aggres- 
sion.* The name of William did not appear in this instrument : 

battle of Sedgemoor, "Dieu soit loue du bon sueces que les troupes du Eoy out 
eu contre les rebelles. Je ne doute pas que cette affaire ne soit entierement 
assoupie, et que le regne du Roy sera heureux, ce que Dieu veuille. July ■!-§•. 
* The treaty will be found in the Recueil des Trait6s, iv. No. 209. 

Vol. II.— 12 


but all men knew that it was his work, and foresaw that he 
would in no long time be again the captain oi' a coalition against 
France. Between him and the vassal of France there could, 
in such circumstances, be no cordial good will. There was no 
open rupture, no interchange of menaces or reproaches. But 
the father in law and the son in law were separated completely 
and for ever. 

At the very time at which the Prince was thus estranged 
from the English court, the causes which had hitherto produced 
a coolness between him and the two great sections of the English 
people disappeared. A large portion, perhaps a numerical majori- 
ty, of the Whigs had favoured the pretensions of Monmouth : but 
Monmouth was now no more. The Tories, on the other hand, 
had entertained apprehensions that the interests of the Anglican 
Church might not be safe under the rule of a man bred among 
Dutch Presbyterians, and well known to hold latitudinarian opin- 
ions about robes, ceremonies, and Bishops ; but since that 
beloved Church had been threatened by far more formidable 
dangers from a very different quarter, these apprehensions had 
lost almost all their power. Thus, at the same moment, both 
the great parties began to fix their hopes and their affections on 
the same leader. Old republicans could not refuse their con- 
fidence to one who had worthily filled, during many years, the 
highest magistracy of a republic. Old royalists conceived that 
they acted according to their principles in paying profound 
respect to a Prince so near to the throne. At this conjunc- 
ture it was of the highest moment that there should be entire 
union between William and Mary. A misunderstanding be- 
tween the presumptive heiress of the crown and her husband 
must have produced a schism in that vast mass which was from 
all quarters gathering round one common rallying point. 
Happily all risk of such misunderstanding was averted in the 
critical instant by the interposition of Burnet ; and the Prince 
became the unquestioned chief of the whole of that party which 
was opposed to the government, a party almost coextensive 
with the nation. 

There is not the least reason to believe that he at this time 


meditated the great enterprise to which a stern necessity after- 
wards drove him. He was aware that the public mind of 
England, though heated by grievances, was by no means ripe 
for revolution. He would doubtless gladly have avoided the 
scandal which must be the effect of a mortal quarrel between 
persons bound together by the closest ties of consanguinity 
and affinity. Even his ambition made him unwilling to owe 
to violence that greatness which might soon be his in the 
ordinary course of nature and of law. For he well knew that, 
if the crown descended to his wife regularly, all its prerogatives 
would descend unimpaired with it, and that, if it were obtained 
by election, it must be taken subject to such conditions as the 
electors might think fit to impose. He meant, therefore, as it 
appears, to wait with patience for the day when he might govern 
by an undisputed title, and to content himself in the meantime 
with exercising a great influence on English affairs, as first 
Prince of the blood, and as head of the party which was 
decidedly preponderant in the nation, and which was certain, 
whenever a Parliament should meet, to be decidedly preponder- 
ant in both Houses. 

Already, it is true, he had been urged by an adviser, less 
sagacious and more impetuous than himself, to try a bolder 
course. This adviser was the young Lord Mordaunt. That 
age had produced no more inventive genius, and no more daring 
spirit. But, if a design was splendid, Mordaunt seldom inquired 
whether it were practicable. His life was a wild romance made 
up of mysterious intrigues, both political and amorous, of violent 
and rapid changes of scene and fortune, and of victories resem- 
bling those of Amadis and Launcelot rather than those of 
Luxemburg and Eugene. The episodes interspersed in this 
strange story were of a piece with the main plot. Among them 
were midnight encounters with generous robbers, and rescues of 
noble and beautiful ladies from ravishers. Mordaunt, having 
distinguished himself by the eloquence and audacity with which, 
in the House of Lords, he had opposed the court, repaired, soon 
after the prorogation, to the Hague, and strongly recommended 
an immediate descent on England. He had persuaded himself 


that it would be as easy to surprise three great kingdoms as he 
long afterwards found it to surprise Barcelona. William list- 
ened, meditated, and replied, in general terms, that he took a 
great interest in English affairs, and would keep his attention 
fixed on them.* Whatever his purpose had been, it is not likely 
that he would have chosen a rash and vainglorious knight 
errant for his confidant. Between the two men there was 
nothing in common except personal courage, which rose in both 
to the height of fabulous heroism. Mordiiunt wanted merely to 
enjoy the excitement of conflict, and to make men stare. 
AVilliain had one great end ever before him. Towards that end 
he was impelled by a strong passion which appeared to him un- 
der the guise of a sacred duty. Towards that end he toiled 
with a patience resembling, as he once said, the patience with 
which he had seen a boatman on a canal strain against an ad- 
verse eddy, often swept back, but never ceasing to pull, and 
content if by the labour of hours, a few yards could be gained.f 
Exploits which brought the Prince no nearer to his object, how- 
ever glorious they might be in the estimation of the vulgar, 
were in his judgment boyish vanities and no part of the real 
business of life. 

He determined to reject Mordaunt's advice ; and there can 
be no doubt that the determination was wise. Had William, 
in 1686, or even in 1687, attempted to do what he did with such 
signal success in 1688, it is probable that many Whigs would 
have risen in arms at his call. But he would have found that 
the nation was not yet prepared to welcome a deliverer from a 
foreign country, and that the Church had not yet been provoked 
and insulted into forjjetfulness of the tenet which had lonix been 
her peculiar boast. The old Cavaliers would have flocked to 
the royal standard. There would probably have been in all the 
throe kingdoms a civil war as long and fierce as that of the pre- 
ceding generation. While that war was raging in the British 
Isles, what might not Lewis attempt on the Continent? And 
what hope would there be for Holland, drained of her troops, 
and abandoned by her Stadtholder ? 

* Burnet, i. 7G2. t Temple's Memoirs. 


William therefore contented himself for the present with 
taking measures to unite and animate that mighty opposition of 
which he had become the head. This was not difficult. The 
fall of the Iiydes had excited throughout England extreme 
alarm and indignation. Men felt that the question now was, 
not whether Protestantism should be dominant, but whether it 
should be tolerated. The Treasurer had been succeeded by a 
board, of which a Papist was the head. The Privy Seal had 
been entrusted to a Papist. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 
had been succeeded by a man who had absolutely no claim to 
high place except that he was a Papist. The last person whom 
a government having in view the general interests of the em- 
pire would have sent to Dublin as Deputy was Tyrconnel. His 
brutal manners made him unfit to represent the majesty of the 
crown. The feebleness of his understanding and the violence 
of his temper made him unfit to conduct grave business of state. 
The deadly animosity which he felt towards the possessors of 
the greater part of the soil of Ireland made him especially unfit 
to rule that kingdom. But the intemperance of his bigotry was 
thought amply to atone for the intemperance of all his other 
passions ; and, in consideration of the hatred which he bore to 
the reformed faith, he was suffered to indulge without restraint 
his hatred of the English name. This, then, was the real 
meaning of His Majesty's respect for the rights of conscience. 
He wished his Parliament to remove all the disabilities which 
had been imposed on Papists, merely in order that he might 
himself impose disabilities equally galling on Protestants. It 
was plain that, under such a prince, apostasy was the only road 
to greatness. It was a road, however, which few ventured to 
take. For the spirit of the nation was thoroughly roused ; and 
every renegade had to endure such an amount of public scorn 
and detestation as cannot be altogether unfelt even by the most 
callous natures. 

It is true that several remarkable conversions had recently 
taken place ; but they were such as did little credit to the 
Church of Rome. Two men of high rank had joined her com- 
munion ; Henry Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough, and James 


Cecil, Earl of Salisbury. But Peterborough, who had been an 
active soldier, courtier, and negotiator, was now broken down 
by years and infirmities ; and those who saw him totter about 
the galleries of Whitehall, leaning on a stick and swathed up 
in flannels and plasters, comforted themselves for his defec- 
tion by remarking that he had not changed his religion till he 
had outlived his faculties.* Salisbury was foolish to a proverb. 
Jlis figure was so bloated by sensual indulgence as to be 
almost incapable of moving ; and this sluggish body was the 
abode of an equally sluggish mind. He was represented in 
popular lampoons as a man made to be duped, as a man 
who had hitherto been the prey of gamesters, and who 
might as well be the prey of friars. A pasquinade, which, 
about the time of Rochester's retirement, was fixed on the door 
of Salisbury House in the Strand, described in coarse terms the 
horror with which the wise Robert Cecil, if he could rise from 
his grave, would see to what a creature his honours had de- 

These were the highest in station among the proselytes of 
James. There were other renegades of a very different kind, 
needy men of parts who were destitute of principle and of all 
sense of personal dignity. There is reason to believe that 
among these was William Wycherley, the most licentious and 
hardhearted writer of a singularly licentious and hardhearted 
school. t It is certain that Matthew Tindal, who, at a later 
period, acquired great notoriety by writing against Christianity, 
was at this time received into the bosom of the infallible Church, 
a fact which, as may easily be supposed, the divines with whom 
he was subsequently engaged in controversy did not suffer to 
sink into oblivion. § A still more infamous apostate was Joseph 
Haines, whose name is now almost forgotten, but who was well 
known in his own time as an adventurer of versatile parts. 

* See the poems entitled The Converts and The Delusion. 

t The lines are in the Collection of State Poems. 

t Our information about Wycherley is very scanty : hut two things are cer- 
tain, that in his later years ho called himself a Papist, and that he received 
money from James. I have very little doubt that he was a hired convert. 

§ S3e the article on him in the Biographia Britannica. 


sharper, coiner, false witness, sham bail, dancing master, buffoon, 
poet, comedian. Some of his prologues and epilogues were 
much admired by his contemporaries ; and his merit as an actor 
was universally acknowledged. This man professed himself a 
Roman Catholic, and went to Italy in the retinue of Castel- 
maine, but was soon dismissed for misconduct. If any credit 
be due to a tradition which was long preserved in the green 
room, Haines had the impudence to affirm that the Virgin Mary 
had appeared to him and called him to repentance. After the 
Revolution, he attempted to make his peace with the town by a 
penance more scandalous than his offence. One night, before 
he acted in a farce, he appeared on the stage in a white sheet 
with a torch in his hand, and recited some profane and indecent 
doggerel, which he called his recantation.* 

With the name of Haines was joined, in many libels, the 
name of a more illustrious renegade, John Dryden. Dryden 
was now approaching the decline of life. After many successes 
and many failures, he had at length attained, by general con- 
sent, the first place among living English poets. His claims on 
the gratitude of James were superior to those of any man of 
letters in the kingdom. But James cared little for verses and 
much for money. From the day of his accession he set himself 
to make small economical reforms, such as bring on a govern- 
ment the reproach of meanness without producing any percep- 
tible relief to the finances. One of the victims of this injudicious 
parsimony was Dryden. A pension of a hundred a year which 
had been given to him by Charles and had expired with Charles 
was not renewed. The demise of the Crown made it necessary 
that the Poet Laureate should have a new patent ; and orders 
were given that, in this patent, the annual butt of sack, original- 
ly granted to Jonson, and continued to Jonson's successors, 
should be omitted.f This was the only notice which the King, 
during the first year of his reign, deigned to bestow on the 
mighty satirist who, in the very crisis of the great struggle of 

* See James Quin's account of Haines in Davies's Miscellanies ; Tom Brown's 
Works ; Lives of Sharpers ; Dryden's Epilogue to the Secular Masque. 

t This fact, which escaped the miuute researches of Malone, appears from 
the Treasury Letter Book of 1686. 


the Exclusion Bill, had spread terror through the Whig ranks. 
Dry den was poor and impatient of poverty. He knew little and 
cared little about religion. If any sentiment was deeply fixed 
in him, that sentiment was an aversion to priests of all persua- 
sions, Levites, Augurs, Muftis, Roman Catholic divines, Presby- 
terian divines, divines of the Church of England, lie was not 
naturally a man of high spirit ; and his pursuits had been by no 
means such as were likely to give elevation or delicacy to his 
mind. He had, during many years, earned his daily bread by 
pandaring to the vicious taste of the pit, and by grossly natter- 
ing rich and noble patrons. Selfrespect and a fine sense of the 
becoming were not to be expected from one who had led a life 
of mendicancy and adulation. Finding that, if he continued to 
call himself a Protestant, his services would be overlooked, he 
declared himself a Papist. The King's parsimony speedily re- 
laxed. Dryden's pension was restored : the arrears were paid 
up ; and he was employed to defend his new religion both in 
prose and verse.* 

Two eminent men, Samuel Johnson and Walter Scott, have 
done their best to persuade themselves and others that this 
memorable conversion was sincere. It was natural that they 
should be desirous to remove a disgraceful stain from the memory 
of one whose genius they justly admired, and with whose politi- 
cal feelings they strongly sympathised ; but the impartial historian 
must with regret pronounce a very different judgment. There 
will always be a strong presumption against the sincerity of a 
conversion by which the convert is directly a gainer. In the 
case of Dryden there is nothing to countervail this presumption. 
His theological writings abundantly prove that he had never 
sought with diligence and anxiety to learn the truth, and that his 
knowledge both of the Church which he quitted and of the 
Church which he entered was of the most superficial kind. Nor 
was his subsequent conduct that of a man whom a strong sense 

* It has lately been asserted that Dryden's pension was restored long before 
he turned Papist, and that therefore it ought not to be considered as the price of 
nis apostasy. But this is an entire mistake. Dryden's pension was restored by 
letters patent of the 4th of March lfisj^ ; and his apostasy had been the t:ilk of 
the town at least six weeks before. See Evelyn's Diary, January IP, 168-g. ih c S7.) 


of duty had constrained to take a step of awful importance. Had 
he been such a man, the same conviction which had led him to 
join the Church of Rome would surely have prevented him from 
violating grossly and habitually rules which that Church, in 
common with every other Christian society, recognises as bind- 
ing. There would have been a marked distinction between his 
earlier and his later compositions. He would have looked back 
with remorse on a literary life of near thirty years, during which 
his rare powers of diction and versification had been systemati- 
cally employed in spreading moral corruption. Not a line tend- 
ing to make virtue contemptible, or to inflame licentious desire, 
would thenceforward have proceeded from his pen. The truth 
unhappily is that the dramas which he wrote after his pretended 
conversion are in no respect less impure or profane than those 
of his youth. Even when he professed to translate he constant- 
ly wandered from his originals in search of images which, if he 
had found them in his originals, he ought to have shunned. 
What was bad became worse in his versions. What was in- 
nocent contracted a taint from passing through his mind. He 
made the grossest satires of Juvenal more gross, interpolated 
loose descriptions in the. tales of Boccaccio, and polluted the 
sweet and limpid poetry of the Georgics with filth which would 
have moved the loathing of Virgil. 

The help of Dryden was welcome to those Roman Catholic 
divines who were painfully sustaining a conflict against all that 
was most illustrious in the Established Church. They could 
not disguise from themselves the fact that their style, disfigured 
with foreign idioms which had been picked up at Rome and 
Douay, appeared to little advantage when compared with the 
eloquence of Tillotson and Sherlock. It seemed that it was no 
light thing to have secured the cooperation of the greatest living 
master of the English language. The first service which he 
was required to perform in return for his pension was to defend 
his Church in prose against Stillingfleet. But the art of saying 
things well is useless to a man who has nothing to say ; and this 
was Dryden's case. He soon found himself unequally paired 
with an antagonist whose whole life had been one long training 


for controversy. The veteran gladiator disarmed the novice, 
inflicted a few contemptuous scratches, and turned away to en- 
counter more formidable combatants. Dryden then betook 
himself to a weapon at which he was not likely to find his 
match. He retired for a time from the bustle of coffeehouses 
and theatres to a quiet retreat in Huntingdonshire, and there 
composed, with unwonted care and labour, his celebrated poem 
on the points in dispute between the Churches of Rome and 
England. The Church of Rome he represented under the 
similitude of the milkwhite hind, ever in peril of death, yet 
fated not to die. The beasts of the field were bent on her 
destruction. The quaking hare, indeed, observed a timorous 
neutrality : but the Socinian fox, the Presbyterian wolf, the In- 
dependent bear, the Anabaptist boar, glared fiercely at the 
spotless creature. Yet she could venture to drink with them 
at the common watering place under the protection of her friend, 
the kingly lion. The Church of England was typified by the 
panther, spotted indeed, but beautiful, too beautiful for a beast 
of prey. The hind and panther, equally hated by the ferocious 
population of the forest, conferred apart on their common dan- 
ger. They then proceeded to discuss the points on which they 
differed, and, while wagging their tails and licking their jaws, 
held a long dialogue touching the real presence, the authority 
of Popes and Councils, the penal laws, the Test Act, Oates's 
perjuries, Butler's unrequited services to the Cavalier party, 
Stillingfleet's pamphlets, and Burnet's broad shoulders and for- 
tunate matrimonial speculations. 

The absurdity of this plan is obvious. In truth the allegory 
could not be preserved unbroken through ten lines together. 
No art of execution could redeem the faults of such a design. 
Yet the Fable of the Hind and Panther is undoubtedly the 
most valuable addition which was made to English literature 
during the short and troubled reign of James the Second. In 
none of Dryden's works can be found passages more pathetic 
and magnificent, greater ductility and energy of language, or a 
more pleasing and various music. 

The poem appeared with every advantage which royal pa- 


tronage could give. A superb edition was printed for Scotland 
at the Roman Catholic press established in Holyrood House. 
But men were in no humour to be charmed by the trans- 
parent style and melodious numbers of the apostate. The 
disgust excited by his venality, the alarm excited by the policy 
of which he was the eulogist, were not to be sung to sleep. The 
just indignation of the public was inflamed by many who were 
smarting from his ridicule, and by many who were envious of 
his renown. In spite of all the restraints under which the press 
lay, attacks on his life and writings appeared daily. Sometimes 
he was Bayes, sometimes Poet Squab. He was reminded that 
in his youth he had paid to the House of Cromwell the same 
servile court which he was now paying to the House of Stuart. 
One set of his assailants maliciously reprinted the sarcastic 
verses which he had written against Popery in days when he 
could have got nothing by being a Papist. Of the many satir- 
ical pieces which appeared on this occasion, the most successful 
was the joint work of two young men who had lately completed 
their studies at Cambridge, and had been welcomed as prom- 
ising novices in the literary coffeehouses in London, Charles 
Montague and Matthew Prior. Montague was of noble descent : 
the origin of Prior was so obscure that no biographer has been 
able to trace it ; but both the adventurers were poor and aspiring : 
both had keen and vigorous minds : both afterwards climbed 
high ; arid both united in a remarkable degree the love of letters 
with skill in those departments of business for which men of 
letters generally have a strong distaste. Of the fifty poets whose 
lives Johnson has written, Montague and Prior were the only 
two who were distinguished by an intimate knowledge of trade 
and finance. Soon their paths diverged widely. Their early 
friendship was dissolved. One of them became the chief of 
the Whig party, and was impeached by the Tories. The other 
was entrusted with all the mysteries of Tory diplomacy, and 
was long kept close prisoner by the Whigs. At length, after 
many eventful years, the associates, so long parted, were re- 
united in Westminster Abbey. 

Whoever has read the tale of the Hind and Panther with 


attention must have perceived that, while that work was in pro- 
gress, a great alteration took place in the views of those who 
used Dryden as their interpreter. At first the Church of Eng- 
land is mentioned with tenderness and respect, and is exhorted 
to ally herself with the Roman Catholic against the Protestant 
Dissenters : but at the close of the poem, and in the preface, 
which was written after the poem had been finished, the Pro- 
testant Dissenters are invited to make common cause with the 
Roman Catholics against the Church of England. 

This change in the language of the court poet was indica- 
tive of a great change in the policy of the court. The original 
purpose of James had been to obtain for the Church of which 
he was a member, not only complete immunity from all penal- 
ties and from all civil disabilities, but also an ample share of 
ecclesiastical and academical endowments, and at the same time 
to enforce with rigour the laws against the Puritan sects. All 
the special dispensations which he had granted had been grant- 
ed to Roman Catholics. All the laws which bore hardest on 
the Presbyterians, Independents, and Baptists, had been ex- 
ecuted by him with extraordinary rigour. While Hales com- 
manded a regiment, while Powis sate at the Council board, 
while Massey held a deanery, while breviaries and mass 
books were printed at Oxford under a royal license, while 
the host was publicly exposed in London under the protec- 
tion of the pikes and muskets of the foot-guards, while friars 
and monks walked the streets of London in their robes, 
Baxter was in gaol ; Howe was in exile ; the Five Mile Act and 
the Conventicle Act were in full vigour ; Puritan writers were 
compelled to resort to foreign or to secret presses ; Puritan con- 
gregations could meet only by night or in waste places ; and 
Puritan ministers were forced to preach in the garb of colliers or 
of sailors. In Scotland the King, while he spared no exertion to 
extort from the Estates full relief for Roman Catholics, had 
demanded and obtained new statutes of unprecedented severity 
against Presbyterians. His conduct to the exiled Huguenots 
had not less clearly indicated his feelings. "We have seen that, 
when the public munificence had placed in his hands a large 


sum for the relief of those unhappy men, he, in violation of 
every law of hospitality and good faith, required them to re- 
nounce the Calvinistic ritual to which they were strongly at- 
tached, and to conform to the Church of England, before he 
would dole out to them any portion of the alms which had been 
entrusted to his care. 

Such had been his policy as long as he could cherish any 
hope that the Church of England would consent to share as- 
cendency with the Church of Rome. That hope at one time 
amounted to confidence. The enthusiasm with which the Tories 
hailed his accession, the elections, the dutiful language and am- 
ple grants of his Parliament, the suppression of the "Western 
insurrection, the complete prostration of the faction which had 
attempted to exclude him from the crown, elated him beyond 
the bounds of reason. He felt an assurance that every obstacle 
would give away before his power and his resolution. But he 
was disappointed. His Parliament withstood him. He tried 
the effects of frowns and menaces. Frowns and menaces failed. 
He tried the effect of prorogation. From the day of the pro- 
rogation the opposition to his designs had been growing stronger 
and stronger. It seemed clear that, if he effected his purpose, 
he must effect it in defiance of that great party which had given 
such signal proofs of fidelity to his office, to his family, and to 
his person. The whole Anglican priesthood, the whole Cava- 
lier gentry, were against him. In vain had he, by virtue of his 
ecclesiastical supremacy, enjoined the clergy to abstain from dis- 
cussing controverted points. Every parish in the nation was 
warned every Sunday against the errors of Pome ; and these 
warnings were only the more effective, because they were ac- 
companied by professions of reverence for the Sovereign, and 
of a determination to endure with patience whatever it might 
be his pleasure to inflict. The royalist knights and esquires 
who, through forty-five years of war and faction, had stood so 
manfully by the throne, now expressed, in no measured phrase, 
their resolution to stand as manfully by the Church. Dull as 
was the intellect of James, despotic as was his temper, he felt 
that he must change his course. He could not safely venture to 


outrage all his Protestant subjects at once. If he could bring 
himself to make concessions to the party which predominated 
in both Houses, if he could bring himself to leave to the estab- 
lished religion all its dignities, emoluments, and privileges un- 
impaired, he might still break up Presbyterian meetings, and fill 
the gaols with Baptist preachers. But, if he was determined 
to plunder the hierarchy, he must make up his mind to forego 
the luxury of persecuting the Dissenters. If he was hence- 
forward to be at feud with his old friends, he must make a truce 
with his old enemies. He could overpower the Anglican Church 
only by forming against her an extensive coalition, including 
sects which, though they differed in doctrine and government 
far more widely from each other than from her, might yet be 
induced, by their common jealousy of her greatness, and by 
their common dread of her intolerance, to suspend their mu- 
tual animosities till she was no longer able to oppress them. 

This plan seemed to him to have one strong recommenda- 
tion. If he could only succeed in conciliating the Protestant 
Nonconformists he miMit flatter himself that he was secure 
against all chance of rebellion. According to the Anglican di- 
vines, no subject could by any provocation be justified in with- 
standing the Lord's anointed by force. The theory of the 
Puritan sectaries was very different. Those sectaries had no 
scruple about smiting tyrants with the sword of Gideon. Many 
of them did not shrink from using the dagger of Ehud. They 
were probably even now meditating another \Yestern insurrec- 
tion, or another Rye House plot. James, therefore, conceived 
that he might safely persecute the Church if he could only gain 
the Dissenters. The party whose principles afforded him no guar- 
antee would be attached to him by interest. The party whose 
interests he attacked would be restrained from insurrection by 

Influenced by such considerations as these, James, from the 
time at which he parted in anger with his Parliament, began to 
meditate a general league of all Nonconformists, Catholic and 
Protestant, against the established religion. So early as Christ- 
mas 1G85, the agents of the United Provinces informed the 


States General that the plan of a general toleration had been 
arranged and would soon be disclosed.* The reports which 
had reached the Dutch embassy proved to be premature. The 
separatists appear, however, to have been treated with more lenity 
during the year 1686 than during the year 1685. But it was 
only by slow degrees and after many struggles that the King 
could prevail on himself to form an alliance with all that he 
most abhorred. He had to overcome an animosity, not slight 
or capricious, not of recent origin or hasty growth, but heredi- 
tary in his line, strengthened by great wrongs inflicted and 
suffered through a hundred and twenty eventful years, and in- 
tertwined with all his feelings, religious, political, domestic, and 
personal. Four generations of Stuarts had waged a war to the 
death with four generations of Puritans ; and through that long 
war, there had been no Stuart who had hated the Puritans so 
much, or who had been so much hated by them, as himself. 
They had tried to blast his honour and to exclude him from his 
birthright : they had called him incendiary, cutthroat, poisoner : 
they had driven him from the Admiralty and the Privy Coun- 
cil : they had repeatedly chased him into banishment : they had 
plotted his assassination : they had risen against him in arms by 
thousands. He had avenged himself on them by havoc such as 
England had never before seen. Their heads and quarters 
were still rotting on poles in all the marketplaces of Somersetshire 
and Dorsetshire. Aged women, held in high honour among the 
sectaries for piety and charity, had, for offences which no good 
prince would have thought deserving even of a severe reprimand, 
been beheaded and burned alive. Such had been,even in England 
the relations between the King and the Puritans ; and in Scot- 
laud the tyranny of the King and the fury of the Puritans had 
been such as Englishmen could hardly conceive. To forget an 
enmity so long and so deadly was no light task for a nature 
singularly harsh and implacable. 

The conflict in the royal mind did not escape the eye of 
Barillon. At the end of January, 1687, he sent a remarkable 

* Van Leeuwen, j ^i^l 1G8 5-6. 
Jan. 4, 


letter to Versailles. The King, — such was the substance o! 
this document, — had almost convinced himself that lie could 
not obtain entire liberty for Roman Catholics and yet maintain 
the laws against Protestant Dissenters. He leaned, therefore, 
to the plan of a general indulgence ; but at heart he would be 
far better pleased if he could, even now, divide his protection 
and favour between the Church of Rome and the Church of 
England, to the exclusion of all other religious persuasions.* 

A very few days after this despatch had been written, James 
made his first hesitating and ungracious advances towards the 
Puritans. He had determined to begin with Scotland, where 
his power to dispense with Acts of Parliament had been admit- 
ted by the obsequious Estates. On the twelfth of February, ac- 
cordingly, was published at Edinburgh a proclamation granting 
relief to scrupulous consciences. "j" This proclamation fully 
proves the correctness of Barillon's judgment. Even in the 
very act of making concessions to the Presbyterians, James could 
not conceal the loathing with which he regarded them. The tol- 
eration given to the Catholics was complete. The Quakers had 
little reason to complain. But the indulgence vouchsafed to the 
Presbyterians, who constituted the great body of the Scottish 
people, was clogged by conditions which made it almost worth- 
less. For the old test, which excluded Catholics and Presby- 
terians alike from office, was substituted a new test, which ad- 
mitted the Catholics, but excluded most of the Presbyterians. 
The Catholics were allowed to build chapels, and even to carry 
the host in procession anywhere except in the high streets of 
the royal burghs ; the Quakers were suffered to assemble in pub- 
lic edifices : but the Presbyterians were interdicted from wor- 
shipping God anywhere but in private dwellings : they were 
not to presume to build meeting houses : they were not even to 
use a barn or an outhouse for religious exercises : and it was 
distinctly notified to them that, if they dared to hold conventi- 

* Barillon, ^ -"'' 1GS C-T. " Jo crois que, dans le fond, si on ne pouvoit laisser 

quo la religion Anglicane *. v t la CaiholLiue etabliea par lea loix, le Roy d'Anglo- 
terre en ieroit bien plus content." 

t 11 will be fuund i:i Wodrow, Appendix, vol. ii. No. 129. 


cles iii the open air, the law, which denounced death against 
both preachers and hearers, should be enforced without mercy. 
Any Catholic priest might say mass : any Quaker might ha- 
rangue his brethren : but the Privy Council was directed to see 
that no Presbyterian minister presumed to preach without a 
special license from the government. Every line of this instru- 
ment, and of the letters by which it was accompanied, shows how 
much it cost the King to relax in the smallest degree the rigour 
with which he had ever treated the old enemies of his house.* 

There is reason, indeed, to believe that, when he published 
this proclamation, he had by no means fully made up his mind 
to a coalition with the Puritans, and that his object was to grant 
just so much favour to them as might suffice to frighten the 
Churchmen into submission. He therefore waited a month, in 
order to see what effect the edict put forth at Edinburgh 
would produce in England. That month he employed assidu- 
ously, by Petre's advice, in what was called closeting. Lon- 
don was very full. It was expected that the Parliament would 
shortly meet for the despatch of business ; and many members 
were in town. The King set himself to canvass them man by 
man. He flattered himself that zealous Tories, — and of such, 
with few exceptions, the House of Commons consisted, — would 
find it difficult to resist his earnest request, addressed to them, 
not collectively, but separately, not from the throne, but in the 
familiarity of conversation. The members, therefore, who came 
to pay their duty at Whitehall, were taken aside, and honoured 
with long private interviews. The King pressed them, as they 
were loyal gentlemen, to gratify him in the one thing on which 
his heart was fixed. The question, he said, touched his person- 
al honour. The laws enacted in the late reign by factious Par- 
liaments against the Roman Catholics had really been aimed at 
himself. Those laws had put a stigma on him, had driven him 
from the Admiralty, had driven him from the Council Board. 
He had a right to expect that in the repeal of those laws all who 
loved and reverenced him would concur. When he found his 
hearers obdurate to exhortation, he resorted to intimidation and 
* Wodrow, Appendix, vol. ii. Nos. 128, 129, 132. 

Vol. II.— 13 


corruption. Those who refused to pleasure him in this matter 
were plainly told that they must not expect any mark of his 
favour. Penurious as he was, he opened and distributed his 
hoards. Several of those who had been invited to confer with 
him left his bedchamber carrying with them money received from 
the royal hand. The Judges, who were at this time on their 
spring circuits, were directed by the King to see those members who 
remained in the country, and to ascertain the intentions of each. 
The result of this investigation was that a great majority of the 
House of Commons seemed fully determined to oppose the meas- 
ures of the Court.* Among those whose firmness excited general 
admiration was Arthur Herbert, brother of the Chief Justice, 
member for Dover, Master of the Robes, and Rear Admiral of 
England. Arthur Herbert was much loved by the sailors, and was 
reputed one of the best of the aristocratical class of naval officers. 
It had been generally supposed that he would readily comply with 
the royal wishes : for he was heedless of religion : he was fond 
of pleasure and expense : he had no private estate : his places 
brought him in four thousand pounds a year ; and he had long 
been reckoned among the most devoted personal adherents of 
James. When, however, the Rear Admiral was closeted, and 
required to promise that he would vote for the repeal of the 
Test Act, his answer was, that his honour and conscience would 
not permit him to give any such pledge. " Nobody doubts your 
honour," said the King : " but a man who lives as you do ought 
not to talk about his conscience." To this reproach, a reproach 
which came with a bad grace from the lover of Catharine Sedley, 
Herbert manfully replied, " I have my faults, sir : but I could 
name people who talk much more about conscience than I am 
in the habit of doing, and yet lead lives as loose as mine." 1 If 
was dismissed from all his places ; and the account of what he ■ 
had disbursed and received as Master of the Robes was scrutin- 
ised with great and, as lie complained, with unjust severity. t 

* Barillon, * Vb _ 2 *'_ iG8 6-7 ; Van Citters, Feb. 15-25 ; Reresby's Memoirs : Bon- 

Mui. 10, 

repaux, >T " V -~< 1G87. 

June 4, 
t Barillon, March 11-24, 1GS7; Lady Russell to Dr. Fitzwillinin, April 1; Burnet. 
1. G71, 7G2- The conversation is somewhat differently related in the Life of James 
ii. 201. But that, passage is not part of the King's own memoirs. 


It was now evident that all hope of an alliance between the 
Churches of England and of Rome, for the purpose of sharing 
offices and emoluments, and of crushing the Puritan sects, must 
be abandoned. Nothing remained but to try a coalition between 
the Church of Rome and the Puritan sects against the Church 
of England. 

On the eighteenth of March the King informed the Privy- 
Council that he had determined to prorogue the Parliament till 
the end of November, and to grant, by his own authority, entire 
liberty of conscience to all his subjects.* On the fourth of April 
appeared the memorable Declaration of Indulgence. 

In this Declaration the King avowed that it was his earnest 
wish to see his people members of that Church to which he him- 
self belonged. But, since that could not be, he announced his 
intention to protect them in the free exercise of their religion. 
He repeated all those phrases which, eight years before, when 
he was himself an oppressed man, had been familiar to his lips, 
but which he had ceased to use from the day on which a turn 
of fortune had put it into his power to be an oppressor. He had 
long been convinced, he said, that conscience was not to be forced, 
that persecution was unfavourable to population and to trade, 
and that it never attained the ends which persecutors had m 
view. He repeated his promise, already often repeated and 
often violated, that he would protect the Established Church in 
the enjoyment of her legal rights. He then proceeded to annul, 
by his own sole authority, a long series of statutes. He suspended 
all penal laws against all classes of Nonconformists. He authorised 
both Roman Catholics and Protestant Dissenters to perform 
their worship publicly. He forbade his subjects, on pain of his 
highest displeasure, to molest any religious assembly. He also 
abrogated all those Acts which imposed any religious test as a 
qualification for any civil or military office, t 

That the Declaration of Indulgence was unconstitutional is 

a point on which both the great English parties have always 

been entirely agreed. Every person capable of reasoning on a 

political question must perceive that a monarch who is competent 

* London Gazette, Mar, 21, 168 6-7. t Ibid. April 7, 1687 


to issue such :i Declaration is nothing less than an absolute 
monarch. Nor is it possible to urge in defence of this act of 
James those pleas by which many arbitrary acts of the Stuarts 
have been vindicated or excused. It cannot be said that he 
mistook the bounds of his prerogative because they had not been 
accurately ascertained. For the truth is that he trespassed with 
a recent landmark full in his view. Fifteen years before that 
time, a Declaration of Indulgence had been put forth by his 
brother with the advice of the Cabal. That Declaration, when 
compared with the Declaration of James, might be called modest 
and cautious. The Declaration of Charles dispensed dhly with 
penal laws. The Declaration of James dispensed also with all 
religious tests. The Declaration of Charles permitted the Roman 
Catholics to celebrate their worship in private dwellings only. 
Under the Declaration of James they might build and decorate 
temples, and even walk in procession along Fleet Street with 
crosses, images, and censers. Yet the Declaration of Charles 
had been pronounced illegal in the most formal manner. The 
Commons had resolved that the King had no power to dispense 
with statutes in matters ecclesiastical. Charles had ordered the 
obnoxious instrument to be cancelled in his presence, had torn 
off the seal with his own hand, and had, both by message under 
his sign manual, and with his own lips from his throne in full 
Parliament, distinctly promised the two Houses that the step 
which had given so much offence should never be drawn into 
precedent. The two Houses had then, without one dissentient 
voice, joined in thanking him for this compliance with their 
wishes. No constitutional question had ever been decided more 
deliberately, more clearly, or with more harmonious consent. 

The defenders of James have frequently pleaded in his ex- 
cuse the judgment of the Court of King's Bench, on the infor- 
' mation collusively laid against Sir Edward Hales : but the plea 
is of no value. That judgment James had notoriously obtained 
by solicitation, by threats, by dismissing scrupulous magistrates, 
and by placing on the bench other magistrates rt-ore courtly. 
And yet that judgment, though generally regarded by the bar 
and by the nation as unconstitutional, went only to this extent, 


that the Sovereign might, for special reasons of state, grant to 
individuals by name exemptions from disabling statutes. That 
he could by one sweeping edict authorise all his subjects to 
disobey whole volumes of laws, no tribunal had ventured, in 
the face of the solemn parliamentary decision of 1G73, to 

Such, however, was the position of parties that James's 
Declaration of Indulgence, though the most audacious of all 
the attacks made by the Stuarts on public freedom, was well 
calculated to please that very portion of the community by 
which all the other attacks of the Stuarts on public freedom had 
been most strenuously resisted. It could scarcely be hoped that 
the Protestant Nonconformist, separated from his countrymen 
by a harsh code harshly enforced, would be inclined to dispute 
the validity of a decree which relieved him from intolerable 
grievances. A cool and philosophical observer would undoubt- 
edly have pronounced that all the evil arising from all the in- 
tolerant laws which Parliaments had framed was not to be com- 
pared to the evil which would be produced by a transfer of the 
legislative power from the Parliament to the Sovereign. But 
such coolness and philosophy are not to be expected from men 
who are smarting under present pain, and who are tempted by 
the offer of immediate ease. A Puritan divine might not in- 
deed be able to deny that the dispensing power now claimed 
by the Crown was inconsistent with the fundamental principles 
of the constitution. But he might perhaps be excused if he 
asked, What was the constitution to him ? The Act of Uniform- 
ity had ejected him, in spite of royal promises, from a benefice 
which was his freehold, and had reduced him to beggary and 
dependence. The Five Mile Act had banished him from his 
dwelling, from his relations, from his friends, from almost all 
places of public resort. Under the Conventicle Act his goods 
had been distrained ; and he had been flung into one noisome 
gaol after another among highwaymen and housebreakers. Out 
of prison, he had constantly had the officers of justice on his 
track ; he had been forced to pay hushmoney to informers : he 
had stolen, in ignominious disguises, through windows and trap- 


door?, to meet his flock, and had, while pouring the baptismal 
water, or distributing the eucharistic bread, been anxiously 
listening for the signal that the tipstaves were approaching. 
Was it not mockery to call on a man thus plundered and op- 
pressed to suffer martyrdom for the property and liberty of his 
plunderers and oppressors ? The Declaration, despotic as it 
might seem to his prosperous neighbours, brought deliverance 
to him. lie was called upon to make his choice, not between 
freedom and slavery, but between two yokes ; and he might not 
unnaturally think the yoke of the King lighter than that of the 

While thoughts like these w r ere working in the minds of 
many Dissenters, the Anglican party was in amazement and 
terror. This new turn in affairs was indeed alarming. The 
House of Stuart leagued with republican aud regicide sects 
against the old Cavaliers of England ; Popery leagued with 
Puritanism against an ecclesiastical system with which the 
Puritans had no quarrel, except that it had retained too much 
that was Popish ; these were portents which confounded all the 
calculations of statesmen. The Church was then to be attacked 
at once on every side ; and the attack was to be under the 
direction of him who, by her constitution, was her head. She 
might well be struck with surprise and dismay. And mingled 
with surprise and dismay came other bitter feelings : resentment 
against the perjured Prince whom she had served too well, and 
remorse for the cruelties in which he had been her accomplice, 
and for which he was now, as it seemed, about to be her pun- 
isher. Her chastisement was just. She reaped that which she 
had sown. After the Restoration, when her power was at the 
height, she had breathed nothing but vengeance. She had en- 
couraged, urged, almost compelled the Stuarts to requite with 
perfidious ingratitude the recent services of the Presbyterians. 
Had she, in that season of her prosperity, pleaded, as became 
her, U>r her enemies, she might now, in her distress, have found 
them her friends. Perhaps it, was not yet too late. Perhaps 
she might still be able to turn the tactics of her faithless op- 
pressor against himself. There was among the Anglican clergy 


a moderate party which had always felt kindly towards the 
Protestant Dissenters. That party was not large ; but the 
abilities, acquirements, and virtues of those who belonged to it 
made it respectable. It had been regarded with little favour 
by the highest ecclesiastical dignitaries, and had been merciless- 
ly reviled by bigots of the school of Laud : but from the day on 
which the Declaration of Indulgence appeared to the day on 
which the power of James ceased to inspire terror, the whole 
Church seemed to be animated by the spirit, and guided by the 
counsels, of the calumniated Latitudinarians. 

Then followed an auction, the strangest that history has re- 
corded. On one side the King, on the other the Church, began 
to bid eagerly against each other for the favour of those whom 
up to that time King and Church had combined to oppress. The 
Protestant Dissenters, who, a few months before, had been a de- 
spised and proscribed class, now held the balance of power. The 
harshness with which they had been treated was universally con- 
demned. The Court tried to throw all the blame on the hierar- 
chy. The hierarchy flung it back on the Court. The King de- 
clared that he had unwillingly persecuted the separatists only 
because his affairs had been in such a state that he could not 
venture to disoblige the established clergy. The established 
clergy protested that they had borne a part in severity unconge- 
nial to their feelings only from deference to the authority of the 
Kino-. The King got together a collection of stories about rec- 
tors and vicars who had by threats of persecution wrung money 
out of Protestant Dissenters. He talked on this subject much 
and publicly : he threatened to institute an enquiry which would 
exhibit the parsons in their true character to the whole world ; 
and he actually issued several commissions empowering agents 
on whom he thought that he could depend to ascertain the amount 
of the sums extorted in different parts of the country by professors 
of the dominant religion from sectaries. The advocates of the 
Church, on the other hand, cited instances of honest parish priests 
who had been reprimanded and menaced by the Court for recom- 
mending toleration in the pulpit, and for refusing to spy out and 
hunt down little congregations of Nonconformists. The King 


asserted that some of the Churchmen whom lie had closeted 
had offered to make large concessions to the Catholics, on 
condition that the persecution of the Puritans might go on. The 
accused Churchmen vehemently denied the truth of this charge, 
and alleged that, if they would have complied with what he de- 
manded for Ins own religion, he would most gladly have suffered 
them to indemnify themselves by harassing and pillaging Pro- 
testant Dissenters.^ 

The Court had changed its face. The scarf and cassock 
could hardly appear there without calling forth sneers and ma- 
licious whispers. Maids of honour forebore to giggle, and Lords 
of the Bedchamber bowed low, when the Puritanical visage and 
the Puritanical garb, so long the favourite subjects of mockery 
in fashionable circles, were seen in the galleries. Taunton, 
which had been during two generations the stronghold of the 
Roundhead party in the West, which had twice resolutely repell- 
ed the armies of Charles the First, which had risen as one man 
to support Monmouth, and which had been turned into a shambles 
by Kirke and Jeffreys, seemed to have suddenly succeeded to the 
place which Oxford had once occupied in the royal favour. t 
The King constrained himself to show even fawning courtesy to 
eminent Dissenters. To some he offered mone} r , to some muni- 
cipal honours, to some pardons for their relations and friends, 
who, having been implicated in the Rye House plot, or having 
joined the standard of Monmouth, were now wandering on the 
Continent, or toiling among the sugar canes of Barbadoes. IIo 
affected even to sympathise with the kindness which the Eng- 
lish Puritans felt for their foreign brethren. A second and a 
third proclamation were published at Edinburgh, which greatly 
extended the nugatory toleration granted to the Presbyterians 
by the edict of February.! The banished Huguenots, on whom 

* Warrant Book of the Treasury See particularly the instructions dated 
March 8. li;s 7-8, Burnet, i. 715; Reflections on His Majesty's Proclamation for a 
Toleration in Scotland ; Letters containing some Reflections on His Majesty's 
Declaration for Liberty of Conscience ; Apology (or the Church of England with 
relation to the spirit ot Persecution for which she is accused, 168 7-*\ But it is 
impossible for me to cite all the pamphlets from which I have formed my notion 
Of the state of parties at this time. 

i Letter to a Dissenter. X Wodrow, Appendix, vol. ii. Is'os. 132, 134. 


the King had frowned during many months, and whom he had 
defrauded of the alms contributed by the nation, were now re- 
lieved and caressed. An Order in Council was issued appealing 
again in their behalf to the public liberality. The rule which 
required them to qualify themselves for the receipt of charity, 
by conforming to the Anglican worship, seems to have been 
at this time silently abrogated ; and the defenders of the 
King's policy had the effrontery to affirm that this rule, which, 
as we know from the best evidence, was really devised by him. 
self m concert with Barillon, had been adopted at the instance 
of the prelates of the Established Church.* 

While the King was thus courting his old adversaries, the 
friends of the Church were not less active. Of the acrimony 
and scorn with which prelates and priests had, since the Restora- 
tion, been in the habit of treating the sectaries scarcely a trace 
was discernible. Those who had lately been designated as schis- 
matics and fanatics were now dear fellow Protestants, weak 
brethren it might be, but still brethren, whose scruples were 
entitled to tender regard. If they would but be true at this crisis 
to the cause of the English constitution and of the reformed 
religion, their generosity should be speedily and largely rewarded. 
They should have, instead of an indulgence which was of no 
legal validity, a real indulgence, secured by Act of Parliament. 
Nay, many churchmen, who had hitherto been distinguished by 
their inflexible attachment to every gesture and every word 
prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer, now declared them- 
selves favourable, not only to toleration, but even to compre- 
hension. The dispute, they said, about surplices and attitudes, 
had too long divided those who were agreed as to the essentials 
of religion. When the strrgMe for life and death against the 
common enemy was over, it would be found that the Anglican 
clergy would be ready to make every fair concession. If the 
Eissenters would demand only what was reasonable, not only 
civil but ecclesiastical dignities would be open to them ; and 
Baxter and Howe would be able, without any stain on their 
honour or their conscience, to sit on the episcopal bench. 

* London Gazette, April 21, 1087 ; Animadversions on a late paper entituledA 
Letter to a Dissenter, by H. C. (Henry Care), 1G87. 


Of the numerous pamphlets in which the cause of the Court 
and the cause of the Church were at this time eagerly and 
anxiously pleaded before the Puritan, now, by a strange turn of 
fortune, the arbiter of the fate of his persecutors, one only is 
still remembered, the Letter to a Dissenter. In this masterly 
little tract, all the arguments which could convince a Noncon- 
formist that it was his duty and his interest to prefer an alliance 
with the Church to an alliance with the Court, were condensed 
into the smallest compass, arranged in the most perspicuous 
order, illustrated with lively wit, and enforced by an eloquence 
earnest indeed, yet never in its utmost vehemence transgressing 
the limits of exact good sense and good breeding. The effect 
of this paper was immense ; for, as it was only a single sheet, 
more than twenty thousand copies were circulated by the post ; 
and there was no corner of the kingdom in which the effect was 
not felt. Twenty-four answers were published : but the town 
pronounced that they were all bad, and that Lestrange's was the 
worst of the twenty-four.* The government was greatly irritated, 
and spared no pains to discover the author of the Letter : but it 
was found impossible to procure legal evidence against him. 
Some imagined that they recognised the sentiments and diction of 
Temple. t But in truth that amplitude and acuteness of intellect, 
that vivacity of fancy, that terse and energetic style, that placid 
dignity, half courtly half philosophical, which the utmost excite- 
ment of conflict could not for a moment derange, belonged to 
Halifax, and to Halifax alone. 

The Dissenters wavered ; nor is it any reproach to them 
that they did so. They were suffering ; and the King had given 
them relief. Some eminent pastors had emerged from confine- 
ment ; and others had ventured to return from exile. Congre- 
gations, which had hitherto met only by stealth and in darkness, 
now assembled at noonday, and sang psalms aloud in the hearing 
of magistrates, churchwardens, and constables. Modest buildings 

* Lestrange's Answer to ft Letter to ft Dissenter J Care's Animadversion! on 
A Letter to a Dissenter; Dialogue between Harry ami Roger; that is to say, 

Harry Care and Roger Lestrange. 

I The letter was signed T. W. Care says, in his animadversions, " This Sir 
Politic T. W.| or W r . T. ; for .some critics think that tho truer reading." 


for the worship of God after the Puritan fashion began to rise 
all over England. An observant traveller will still remark the 
date of 1687 on some of the oldest meeting houses. Nevertheless 
the offers of the Church were, to a prudent Dissenter, far more 
attractive than those of the King. The Declaration was, in the 
eye of the law, a nullity. It suspended the penal statutes against 
nonconformity only for so long a time as the fundamental prin- 
ciples of the constitution and the rightful authority of the legis- 
lature should remain suspended. What was the value of privi- 
leges which must be held by a tenure at once so ignominious and 
so insecure ? There miidit soon be a demise of the crown. A 
sovereign attached to the established religion might sit on the 
throne. A Parliament composed of Churchmen might be assem- 
bled. How deplorable would then be the situation of Dis- 
senters who had been in league with Jesuits against the COn- 
stitution ! The Church offered an indulgence very different from 
that granted by James, an indulgence as valid and as sacred as 
the Great Charter. Both the contending parties promised reli- 
gious liberty to the separatist : but one party required him to 
purchase it by sacrificing civil liberty ; the other party invited 
him to enjoy civil and religious liberty together. 

For these reasons, even if it could have been believed that 
the Court was sincere, a Dissenter might reasonably have deter- 
mined to cast in his lot with the Church. But what guarantee 
was there for the sincerity of the Court ? All men knew what 
the conduct of James had been up to that very time. It was 
not impossible, indeed, that a persecutor might be convinced 
by argument and by experience of the advantages of toleration. 
But James did not pretend to have been recently convinced. 
On the contrary, he omitted no opportunity of protesting that 
he had, during many years, been, on principle, adverse to all 
intolerance. Yet, within a few months, he had persecuted men, 
women, young girls, to the death for their religion. Had he 
been acting against light and against the convictions of his 
conscience then ? Or was he uttering a deliberate falsehood 
now ? From this dilemna there was no escape ; and either of the 
two suppositions was fatal to the King's character for honesty. 


It was notorious also that he had been completely subjugated by 

the Jesuits. Only a few days before the publication of the In- 
dulgence, that order had been honoured, in spite of the well 
known wishes of the Holy See, with a new mark of his confidence 
and approbation. His confessor, Father Mansuete, a Franciscan, 
whose mild temper and irreproachable life commanded general 
respect, but who had long been hated by Tyrconnel and Petre, 
had been discarded. The vacant place had been iiiled by an 
Englishman named Warner, who had apostatised from the reli- 
gion of his country and had turned Jesuit. To the moderate 
Roman Catholics and to the Nuncio this change was far from 
agreeable. By every Protestant it was regarded as a proof that 
the dominion of the Jesuits over the royal mind was absolute.* 
Whatever praises those fathers might justly claim, flattery itself 
could not ascribe to them either wide liberality or strict veracity. 
That they had never scrupled, when the interest of their Order 
was at stake, to call in the aid of the civil sword, or to violate the 
laws of truth and of good faith, had been proclaimed to the 
world not only by Protestant accusers, but by men whose virtue 
and genius were the glory of the Church of Rome. It was in- 
credible that a devoted disciple of the Jesuits should be on prin- 
ciple zealous for freedom of conscience : but it was neither incred- 
ible nor improbable that he might think himself justified in dis- 
guising his real sentiments, in order to render a service to his 
religion. It was certain that the King at heart preferred the 
Churchmen to the Puritans. It was certain that, while he had 
any hope of gaining the Churchmen, he had never shown the 
smallest kindness to the Puritans. Could it then be doubted 
that, if the Churchmen would even now comply with his wishes, 
he would willingly sacrifice the Puritans ? His word, repeatedly 
pledged, had not restrained him from invading the legal rights 
of that clergy which had given such signal proofs of affection and 
fidelity to his house. What security then could his word afford 
to sects divided from him by the recollection of a thousand inex- 
piable wounds inflicted and endured ? 

* Ellis Correspondence. March in. July L>7, 1686 ; r.arillon, * , ' ,, ' 5 March 3-13, 

1 ■» i Mar. 10, 

6-10, 1G87 ; Boaquillo, Mareli D-1'J, lGcST ; ill the Mackintosh Collection. 


"When the first agitation produced by the publication of the 
Indulgence had subsided, it appeared that a breach had taken place 
in the Puritan party. The minority, headed by a few busy 
men whose judgment was defective or was biassed by interest, 
supported the King. Henry Care, who had long been the bitterest 
and most active pamphleteer among the Nonconformists, and 
who had, in the days of the Popish plot, assailed James with the 
utmost fury in a weekly journal entitled the Packet of Advice 
from Rome, was now as loud in adulation as he had formerly 
been in calumny and insult.* The chief agent who was employed 
by the government to manage the Presbyterians was Vincent 
Alsop, a divine of some note both as a preacher and as a writer. 
His son, who had incurred the penalties of treason, received a 
pardon ; and the whole influence of the father was thus engaged 
on the side of the Court.f With Alsop was joined Thomas 
Rose well. Rosewell had, during that persecution of the Dissenters 
which followed the detection of the Rye House plot, been falsely 
accused of preaching against the government, had been tried for 
his life by Jeffreys, and had, in defiance of the clearest evidence, 
been convicted by a packed jury. The injustice of the verdict 
was so gross that the very courtiers cried shame. One Tory 
gentleman who had heard the trial went instantly to Charles, 
and declared that the neck of the most loyal subject in England 
would not be safe if Rosewell suffered. The jurymen them- 
selves were stung by remorse when they thought over what they 
had done, and exerted themselves to save the life of the prisoner. 
At length a pardon was granted : but Rosewell remained bound 
under heavy recognisances to good behaviour during life, and to 
periodical appearance in the Court of King's Bench. His recog- 
nisances were now discharged by the royal command ; and in this 
way his services were secured.! 

The business of gaining the Independents was principally 

* Wood's Athense Oxonienses ; Observator ; Heraclitus Ridens, passim. But 
Care's own writings furnish the best materials for an estimate of his character. 

t Calamy's Account of the Ministers ejected or silenced after the Restoration 
in Northamptonshire ; Wood's Athenae Oxonienses ; Biograpbia Britannica. 

X State Trials ; Samuel Rosewell's Life of Thomas Rosewell, 17 18 ; Calamy's 


entrusted to one of their ministers named Stephen Lohb. Lobb 
was a weak, violent, and ambitious man. lie had gone such 
lengths in opposition to the government, that he had been by 
name proscribed in several proclamations. He now made his 
peace, and went as far in servility as he had ever done in fac- 
tion. He joined the Jesuitical cabal, and eagerly recommended 
measures from which the wisest and most honest Roman Catho- 
lics recoiled. It was remarked that he was constantly at the 
palace and frequently in the closet, that he lived with a splen- 
dour to which the Puritan divines were little accustomed, and 
that he was perpetually surrounded by suitors imploring his inter- 
est to procure them offices or pardons.* 

With Lobb was closely connected William Penn. Penn had 
never been a stron^headed man : the life which he had been 
leading during two years had not a little impaired his moral 
sensibility ; and if his conscience ever reproached him, he com- 
forted himself by repeating that he had a good and noble end 
in view, and that he was not paid for his services in money. 

By the influence of these men, and of others less conspicu- 
ous, addresses of thanks to the King were procured from several 
bodies of Dissenters. Tory writers have with justice remarked 
that the language of these compositions was as f ulsomely servile 
as anything that could be found in the most florid eulogies pro- 
nounced by Bishops on the Stuarts. But, on close enquiry, it 
will appear that the disgrace belongs to but a small part of the 
Puritan party. There was scarcely a market town in England 
without at least a knot of separatists. No exertion was spared 
to induce them to express their gratitude for the Indulgence. 
Circular letters, imploring them to sign, were sent to every 
corner of the kingdom in such numbers that the mail bags, it 
was sportively said, were too heavy for the posthorses. Yet 
all the addresses which could be obtained from all the Presby- 
terians, Independents, and Baptists scattered over England did 
not in six months amount to sixty ; nor is there any reason to 

* London Gazette, March 15, 1G8 5-G ; Nichols's Defenco of the Church of Eng- 
land ; Piercw's Vindication of the Dissenters. 


believe that these addresses were numerously signed.* One of 
the most adulatory was that of the Quakers ; and Penn pre- 
sented it with a speech more adulatory still.f 

The great body of Protestant Nonconformists, firmly at- 
tached to civil liberty, and distrusting the promises of the King 
and of the Jesuits, steadily refused to return thanks for a favour, 
which, it might well be suspected, concealed a snare. This was 
the temper of all the most illustrious chiefs of the party. One 
of these was Baxter. He had, as we have seen, been brought 
to trial soon after the accession of James, had been brutally 
insulted by Jeffreys, and had been convicted by a jury, such as 
the courtly Sheriffs of those times were in the habit of selecting. 
Baxter had been about a year and a half in prison when the 
Court began to think seriously of gaining the Nonconformists. 
He was not only set at liberty, but was informed that, if he 
chose to reside in London, he might do so without fearing that 
the Five Mile Act would be enforced against him. The govern- 
ment probably hoped that the recollection of past sufferings 
and the sense of present ease would produce the same effect on 
him as on Rosewell and Lobb. The hope was disappointed. 
Baxter was neither to be corrupted nor to be deceived. He 
refused to join in any address of thanks for the Indulgence, and 
exerted all his influence to promote good feeling between the 
Church and the Presbyterians. $ 

If any man stood higher than Baxter in the estimation of the 
Protestant Dissenters, that man was John Howe. Howe had, 
like Baxter, been personally a gainer by the recent change of 
policy. The same tyranny which had flung Baxter into gaol had 
driven Howe into banishment ; and, soon after Baxter had been 
let out of the King's Bench Prison, Howe returned from Utrecht 
to England. It was expected at Whitehall that Howe would 
exert in favour of the Court all the authority which he possessed 
over his brethren. The King himself condescended to ask the 
help of the subject whom he had oppressed. Howe appears to 

* The Addresses will be found in the London Gazettes. 

t London Gazette, May 26, 1687 ; Life of Penn prefixed to his Works, 1726- 

$ Calamy's Life of Baxter. 


have hesitated : but the influence of the Hampdens, with whom 
he was on terms of close intimacy, kept him steady to the cause 
of the constitution. A meeting of Presbyterian ministers was 
held at his house, to consider the state of affairs, and to deter- 
mine on the course to be adopted. There was great anxiety at 
the palace to know the result. Two royal messengers were in 
attendance during the discussion. They returned with the un- 
welcome news that Howe had declared himself decidedly adverse 
to the dispensing power, and that he had, after long debate, 
carried with him the majority of the assembly. # 

To the names of Baxter and Howe must be added the name 
of a man far below them in station and in acquired knowledge, 
but in virtue their equal, and in genius their superior, John 
Bunyan. Bunyan had been bred a tinker, and had served as a 
private soldier in the parliamentary army. Early in his life he 
had been fearfully tortured by remorse for his youthful sins, 
the worst of which seem, however, to have been such as the 
world thinks venial. His keen sensibility and his powerful 
'imagination made his internal conflicts singularly terrible. He 
fancied that he was under sentence of reprobation, that he had 
committed blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, that he had sold 
Christ, that he was actually possessed by a demon. Sometimes 
loud voices from heaven cried out to warn him. Sometimes 
fiends whispered impious suggestions in his ear. Pie saw visions 
of distant mountain tops, on which the sun shone brightly, but 
from which he was separated by a waste of snow. He felt the 
Devil behind him pulling his clothes. He thought that the 
brand of Cain had been set upon him. He feared that he was 
about to burst asunder like Judas. His mental agony disorder- 
ed his health. One day he shook like a man in the palsy. On 
another day he felt a fire within his breast. It is difficult to 
understand how he survived sufferings so intense, and so long 
continued. At length the clouds broke. From the depths of 
despair, the penitent passed to a state of serene felicity. An 
irresistible impulse now urged him to impart to others the bless- 

* Calamy's Life of Howe. The share which the Hampden family had in th« 
matter I learned from a letter of Johnstone of Wuristoun, dated June 13, 1C88. 


in"- of which he was himself possessed.* He joined the Baptists, 
and became a preacher and writer. His education had been that 
of a mechanic. He knew no language but the English, as it 
was spoken by the common people. He had studied no great 
model of composition, with the exception, an important excep- 
tion undoubtedly, of our noble translation of the Bible. His 
spelling was bad. He frequently transgressed the rules of gram- 
mar. Yet his native force of genius, and his experimental knowl- 
edge of all the religious passions, from despair to ecstasy, am- 
ply supplied in him the want of learning. His rude oratory 
roused and melted hearers who listened without interest to the 
laboured discourses of great logicians and Hebraists. His books 
were widely circulated among the humbler classes. One of them, 
the Pilgrim's Progress, was, in his own lifetime, translated into 
several foreign languages. It was, however, scarcely known to 
the learned and polite, and had been, during more than a century, 
the delight of jnous cottagers and artisans before it took its 
proper place, as a classical work, in libraries. At length critics 
condescended to enquire where the secret of so wide and so 
durable a popularity lay. They were compelled to own that the 
ignorant multitude had judged more correctly than the learned, 
and that the despised little book was really a masterpiece. 
Bunyanis indeed as decidedly the first of allegorists as Demos- 
thenes is the first of orators, or Shakspeare the first of dramatists. 
Other allegorists have shown equal ingenuity ; but no other al- 
legonst has ever been able to touch the heart, and to make ab- 
stractions objects of terror, pity and of love. f 

It may be doubted whether any English Dissenter had suf- 
fered more severely under the penal laws than John Bunyan. 
Of the twenty -seven years which had elapsed since the Restora- 
tion, he had passed twelve in confinement. He still persisted in 
j>reaching : but, that he might preach, he was under the neces- 

* Bunyan's Grace Abounding. 

t Young classes Bunyan's prose with Durfey's poetry. The people of fashion 
in the Spiritual Quixote rank the Pilgrim's Progress with Jack the Giant-killer. 
Late in the eighteenth century Cowper did not venturo to do more than allude 
to the great allegorist :— 

'• I name thee not, lest so desipsed a name. 
Should move a sneer at thy deserved fame." 

Vol. II.— 14 


sity of disguising himself like a carter. lie was often intro- 
duced into meetings through back doors, with a smock frock 
on Ills back, and a whip in his hand. If lie had thought only 
of his own ease and safety, he would have hailed the Indulgence, 
with delight. He was now, at length, free to pray and exhort 
in open day. His congregation rapidly increased : thousands 
hung upon his words ; and at Bedford, where he ordinarily re- 
sided, money was plentifully contributed to build a meeting 
house for him. His influence among the common people was 
such that the government would willingly have bestowed on 
him some municipal office : but his vigorous understanding and 
his stout English heart were proof against all delusion and all 
temptation. He felt assured that the proffered toleration was 
merely a bait intended to lure the Puritan party to destruction ; 
nor would he, by accepting a place for which he was not legally 
qualified, recognise the validity of the dispensing power. One 
of the last acts of his virtuous life was to decline an interview 
to which he was invited by an agent of the government.* 

Great as was the authority of Bunyan over the Baptists, 
that of William Kiffin was still greater. Kiffin was the first 
man among them in wealth and station. He was in the habit 
of exercising his spiritual gifts at their meetings : but he did 
not live by preaching. He traded largely : his credit on the 
Exchange of London stood high ; and he had accumulated an 
ample fortune. Perhaps no man could, at that conjuncture, 
have rendered more valuable services to the Court. But be- 
tween him and the Court was interposed the remembrance of 
one terrible event. He was the grandfather of the two Hew- 
lings, those gallant youths who, of all the victims of the Bloody 
Assizes, had been the most generally lamented. For the sad 
fate of one of them James was in a peculiar manner responsi- 
ble. Jeffreys had respited the younger brother. The poor lad's 
sister had been ushered by Churchill into the royal presence, 
and had begged for mercy : but the King's heart had been ob- 
durate. The misery of the whole family had been great ; but 
Kiffin was most to be pitied. He was seventy years old when 

* The continuation of Bunyan's Life appended to his Grace Abounding. 


he was left desolate, the survivor of those who should have sur- 
vived him. The heartless and venal sycophants of Whitehall, 
judging by themselves, thought that the old man would be easi- 
ly propitiated by an Alderman's gown, and by some compensa- 
tion in money for the property which his grandsons had forfeited. 
Penn was employed in the work of seduction, but to no pur- 
pose.* The King determined to try what effect his own civ- 
ilities would produce. Kiffin was ordered .to attend at the 
palace. He found a brilliant circle of noblemen and gentlemen 
assembled. James immediately came to him, spoke to him 
very graciously, and concluded by saying, " I have put you 
down, Mr. Kiffin, for an Alderman of London." The old man 
look fixedly at the King, burst into tears, and made answer, 
" Sir, I am worn out. I am unfit to serve Your Majesty or the 
City. And, sir, the death of my poor boys broke my heart. 
That wound is as fresh as ever. I shall carry it to my grave." 
The King stood silent for a minute in some confusion, and then 
said, " Mr. Kiffin, I will find a balsam for that sore." Assuredly 
James did not mean to say anything cruel or insolent : on the 
contrary, he seems to have been in an unusually gentle mood. 
Yet no speech that is recorded of him gives so unfavourable a 
notion of his character as these few words. They are the 
words of a hardhearted and lowminded man, unable to conceive 
any laceration of the affections for which a place or a pension 
would not be a full compensation. f 

* An attempt lias been made to vindicate Penn's conduct on this occasion, 
and to fasten on me the charge of having calumniated him. It is asserted that, 
instead of being engaged, on behalf of the government, in the work of seduction, 
he was really engaged, on behalf of Kiffin, in the work of intercession. In sup- 
port of this view the following passage is triumphantly quoted from Kiilin's 
Memoirs of himself. " I used all the means I could to be excused both by some 
lords near the King, and also by Sir Nicholas Butler, and Mr. Penn. But it was 
all in vain . . . ." There the quotation ends, not at a full stop, but at a semi- 
colon. The remainder of the sentence, which fully bears out all that I have said, 
is carefully suppressed. Kifhn proceeds thus : — " I was told that tbey (Nicholas 
and Penn) knew I had an interest that might serve the King, and although they 
knew my sufferings were great, in cutting off my two grandchildren, and losing 
their estate, yet it should be made up to me, both in their estates, and also in 
what honour or advantage I could reasonably desire for myself. But I thank the 
Lord, these proffers were no snare to me." 

t Kiffra's Memoirs ; Luson's Letter to Brooke, May 11, 1773, in the Hughes 


Since Kiffin could not be seduced by blandishments and fair 
promises, it was determined to try what persecution would effect, 
lie was told that an information would be filed against him in the 
Crown Ollice, and he was threatened with a lodging in New- 
gate. lie asked the advice of counsel ; and the answer which lie 
received was that, by accepting office without taking the sacra- 
ment according to the Anglican ritual, he would make himself 
legally liable to a fine of five hundred pounds, but that, by re- 
fusing office, he would make himself liable, not legally, but in 
fact, to whatever fine a servile bench of judges might in direct 
defiance of the statutes, think fit to impose. He might be 
mulcted in ten, twenty, thirty, thousand pounds. His family, 
which had already suffered so cruelly from two confiscations, 
might be utterly ruined by this third calamity. After holding 
out many weeks, he so far submitted as to take the title of 
Alderman ; but he abstained from acting either as a Justice of 
the Peace or as one of the Commission of Lieutenancy which 
commanded the militia of the City.* 

That section of the dissenting body which was favourable to 
the King's new policy had from the first been a minority, and 
soon began to diminish. For the Nonconformists perceived in 
no long time that their spiritual privileges had been abridged 
rather than extended by the Indulgence. The chief characteristic 
of the Puritan was abhorrence of the peculiarities of the Church 
of Rome, lie had quitted the Church of England only because he 
conceived that she too much resembled her superb and volup- 
tuous sister, the sorceress of the golden cup and of the scarlet robe, 
lie now found that one of the implied conditions of that alliance 
which some of his pastors had formed with the Court was that 
the religion of the Court should be respectfully and tenderly 
treated. lie soon began to regret the days of persecution. 
AYhile the penal laws were enforced, he had heard the words of 
life in secret and at his peril : but still he had heard them. 
When the brethren were assembled in the inner chamber, when 
th • sentinels had been posted, when the doors had been locked, 
when the ureacher, in the garb of a butcher or a drayman, had 

* Kiffln'a Memoirs. 


come in over the tiles, then at least God was truly worshipped. 
No portion of divine truth was suppressed or softened down for 
any worldly object. All the distinctive doctrines of the Puritan 
theology were fully, and even coarsely, set forth. To the Church 
of Rome no quarter was given. The Beast, the Antichrist, the 
Man of Sin, the mystical Jezebel, the mystical Babylon, were 
the phrases ordinarily employed to describe that august and fas- 
cinating superstition. Such had been once the style of Alsop, 
of Lobb, of Rosewell, and of other ministers who had of 
late been well received at the palace : but such was now their 
style no longer. Divines who aspired to a high place in the 
King's favour and confidence could not venture to speak with 
asperity of the King's religion. Congregations therefore com- 
plained loudly that, since the appearance of the Declaration 
which purported to give them entire freedom of conscience, they 
had never once heard the Gospel boldly and faithfully preached. 
Formerly they had been forced to snatch their spiritual nutri- 
ment by stealth : but, when they had snatched it, they had 
found it seasoned exactly to their taste. They were now at lib- 
erty to feed : but their food had lost all its savour. They met 
by daylight, and in commodious edifices ; but they heard dis- 
courses far less to their taste than they would have heard from 
the rector. At the parish church the will worship and idolatry 
of Rome were every Sunday attacked with energy : but, at the 
meeting house, the pastor, who had a few months before reviled 
the established clergy as little better than Papists, now carefully 
abstained from censuring Popery, or conveyed his censures in 
lan^uaGfe too delicate to shock even the ears of Father Petre. 
Nor was it possible to assign any creditable reason for this 
chancre. The Roman Catholic doctrines had undergone no alter- 
ation. Within living memory, never had Roman Catholic priests 
been so active in the work of making proselytes : never had 
so many Roman Catholic publications issued from the press * 
never had the attention of all who cared about religion been so 
closely fixed on the disputes between the Roman Catholics and 
the Protestants. What could be thought of the sincerity of 
theologians who had never been weary of railing at Popery 


when Popery was comparatively harmless and helpless, and 
who now, when a time of real danger to the reformed faith hud 
arrived, studiously avoided uttering one word which could give 
offence to a Jesuit ? Their conduct was indeed easily explained. 
It was known that some of them had obtained pardons. It was 
suspected that others had obtained money. Their prototype 
might be fouud in that weak apostle who from fear denied the 
Master to whom he had boastfully professed the firmest attach- 
ment, or in that baser apostle who sold his Lord for a handful 
of silver.* 

Thus the dissenting ministers who had been gained by the 
Court were rapidly losing the influence which they had once 
possessed over their brethren. On the other hand, the sectaries 
found themselves attracted by a strong religious sympathy to- 
wards those prelates and priests of the Church of England who, 
in spite of royal mandates, of threats, and of promises, were 
wainn^ vigorous war with the Church of Rome. The Anjrli- 
can body and the Puritan body, so long separated by a mortal 
enmity, were daily drawing nearer to each other, and every 
step which they made towards union increased the influence of 
him who was their common head. William was in all things 
fitted to be a mediator between these two great sections of the 
English nation. He could not be said to be a member of either. 
Yet neither, when in a reasonable mood, could refuse to regard 
him as a friend- His system of theology agreed with that of 
the Puritans. At the same time he regarded episcopacy, not 
indeed as a divine institution, but as a perfectly lawful and an 
eminently useful form of church government. Questions re- 
specting postures, robes, festivals, and liturgies, he considered as 
of no vital importance. A simple worship, such as that to 
which he had been early accustomed, would have been most to 
his personal taste. But he was prepared to conform to any 
ritual which might be acceptable to the nation, and insisted only 
that he should not be required to persecute his brother Protes- 
tants whose consciences did not permit them to follow his ex- 

* See, amour: other contemporary pamphlets, one entitled it Representation 
of the threatening Dangers impending over Frotestants. 


ample. Two years earlier he would have been pronounced by 
numerous bigots on both sides a mere Laodicean, neither cold 
nor hot, and fit only to be spewed out. But the zeal which had 
inflamed Churchmen against Dissenters, and Dissenters against 
Churchmen had been so tempered by common adversity and 
danger that the lukewarmness which had once been imputed to 
him as a crime was now reckoned among his chief virtues. 

All men were anxious to know what he thought of the Declar- 
ation of Indulgence. For a time hopes were entertained at White- 
hall that his known respect for the rights of conscience would at 
least prevent him from publicly expressing disapprobation of a 
policy which had a specious show of liberality. Penn had vis- 
ited Holland in the summer of 1686, confident that his elo- 
quence, of which he had a high opinion, would prove irresistible. 
He had harangued on his favourite theme with a copiousness 
which tired his hearers out. He had assured them that a 
golden age of religious liberty was approaching : whoever lived 
three years longer would see strange things : he could not be 
mistaken ; for he had it from a man who had it from an Angel. 
Penn also hinted that, though he had not come to the Hague 
with a royal commission, he knew the royal mind. There was 
nothing, he was confident, which the uncle would not do to 
gratify the nephew, if only the nephew would, in the matter 
of the Test Act, gratify the uncle. As oral exhortations and 
promises produced little effect, Penn returned to England, and 
thence wrote to the Hague that His Majesty seemed disposed 
to make large concessions, to live in close amity with the Prince, 
and to settle a handsome income on the Princess.* There can 
indeed be little doubt that James would gladly have purchased 
at a high price the support of his eldest daughter and of his 
son-in-law. But on the subject of the Test, William's resolu- 
tion was immutable. " You ask me," he said to one of the 
King's agents, " to countenance an attack on my own religion. 
I cannot with a safe conscience do it, and I will not, no, not for 

* Burnet, i. 693,694 ; Avaux. Jan. 10, 1687- Penn's letters were regularly put, 
by one of his Quaker friends who resided at the Hague, into the Prince's own 


the crown of England, nor for the empire of the world." Th< 
words were reported to the King and disturbed him greatly.* 
He wrote urgent letters with his own hand. Sometimes he 
took the tone of an injured man. He was the head of the 
royal family ; he was as such entitled to expect the obedience 
of the younger branches ; and it was very hard that he was to 
be crossed in a matter on which his heart was set. At oth*-r 
times a bait which was thought irresistible was offered. If 
"William would but give way on this one point, the English gov- 
ernment would, in return, cooperate with him strenuously 
against France. He was not to be so deluded, lie knew that 
James, without the support of a Parliament, would, even if not 
unwilling, be unable to render effectual service to the common 
cause of Europe; and there could be no doubt that, if a Par- 
liament were assembled, the first demand of both houses would 
be that the Declaration should be cancelled. 

The Princess assented to all that was suggested by her hus- 
band. Their joint opinion was conveyed to the King in firm but 
temperate terms. They declared that they deeply regretted the 
course which His Majesty had adopted They were convinced 
that he had usurped a prerogative which did not by law belong 
to him. Against that usurpation they protested, not only as 
friends to civil liberty, but as members of the royal house, who 
had a deep interest in maintaining the rights of that crown which 
they might one day wear. For experience had shown that in 
England arbitrary government could not fail to produce a reac- 
tion even more pernicious than itself ; and it might reasonably 
be feared that the nation, alarmed and incensed by the pro?pe t 
of despotism, might conceive a disgust even for constitutional 
monarchy. The advice, therefore, which they tendered to the 
King was that he would in all things govern according to law. 

* " LeFrince d'Orange, qui avoit Chicle jusqu'alors de faire une reponse pos- 
itive, dit . . • . . qu'il ne consentiroit jamais a. la suppression de cos loix qui 
avoient 6te" 6tablies pour le maintien et la surete de la religion Protestante, et 
que sa conscience nele lui permettoit point, non seulement pour la succession du 
royaume d'Angleterre raais meme pour l'empire du inonde : en sorte que le roi 
d'Angleterre est plus aigri contre lui qu'il n'a jamais 6te." — Bonrepaux, Jun* 
11-21, 1687. 


They readily admitted that the law might with advantage be 
altered by competent authority, and that some part of his Decla- 
ration well deserved to be embodied in an Act of Parliament. 
They were not persecutors. They should with pleasure see 
Roman Catholics as well as Protestant Dissenters relieved in a 
proper manner from all penal statutes. They should with pleas- 
ure see Protestant Dissenters admitted in a proper manner 
to civil office. At that point their Highnesses must stop. They 
could not but entertain grave apprehensions that, if Roman 
Catholics were made capable of public trust, great evil would 
ensue ; and it was intimated not obscurely that these apprehen- 
sions arose chiefly from the conduct of James.* 

The opinion expressed by the Prince and Princess respecting 
the disabilities to which the Roman Catholics were subject was 
that of almost all the statesmen and philosophers who were then 
zealous for political and religious freedom. In oivr age, on the 
contrary, enlightened men have often pronounced, with regret, 
that, on this one point, William appears to disadvantage when 
compared with his father in law. The truth is that some con- 
siderations which are necessary to the forming of a correct judg- 
ment seem to have escaped the notice of many writers of the 
nineteenth century. 

There are two opposite errors into which those who study the 
annals of our country are in constant danger of falling, the error 
of judging the present by the past, and the error of judging the 
past by the present. The former is the error of minds prone to 
reverence whatever is old, the latter of minds readily attracted 
by whatever is new. The former error may perpetually be 
observed in the reasonings of conservative politicians on the 
questions of their own day. The latter error perpetually infects 
the speculations of writers of the liberal school when they discuss 
the transactions of an earlier a^e. The former error is the more 
pernicious in a statesman, and the latter in a historian. 

It is not easy for any person who, in our time, undertakes to 
treat of the revolution which overthrew the Stuarts, to preserve 

* Burnet, i. 710 ; Bonrepaux, May_24. 16gL 

June 4, 


with steadiness the happy mean between these two extremes. 
The question whether members of the Roman Catholic Church 
could be safely admitted to Parliament and to office convulsed 
our country during the reign of James the Second, was set at 
rest by his downfall, and having slept during more than a cen- 
tury, was revived by that great stirring of the human mind which 
followed the meeting of the National Assembly of France. 
During thirty years the contest went on in both Houses of Par- 
liament, in every constituent body, in every social circle. It 
destroyed administrations, broke up parties, made all govern- 
ment in one part of the empire impossible, and at length brought 
us to the verge of civil war. Even when the struggle had ter- 
minated, the passions to which it had given birth still continued 
to rage. It was scarcely possible for any man whose mind was 
under the influence of those passions to see the events of the 
years 1087 and 1688 in a perfectly correct light. 

One class of politicians, starting from the true proposition 
that the Revolution had been a great blessing to our country, 
arrived at the false conclusion that no test which the statesmen 
of the Revolution had thought necessary for the protection of 
our religion and our freedom could be safely abolished. Another 
class starting from the true proposition that the disabilities imposed 
on the Roman Catholics had long been productive of nothing 
but mischief, arrived at the false conclusion that there never 
could have been a time when those disabilities were useful and 
necessary. The former fallacy pervaded the speeches of the 
acute and learned Eldon. The latter was not altogether without 
influence even on an intellect so calm and philosophical as that 
of Mackintosh. 

Perhaps, however, it will be found on examination that we 
may vindicate the course which w T as unanimously approved by all 
the great English statesmen of the seventeenth century, without 
questioning the wisdom of the course which was as unanimously 
approved by all the great English statesmen of our own time. 

Undoubtedly it is an evil that any citizen should be excluded 
from civil employment on accouut of his religious opinions : 
but a choice between evils is sometimes all that is left to human 


wisdom. A nation may be placed in such a situation that the 
majority must either impose disabilities or submit to them, and 
that what would, under ordinary circumstances, be justly con- 
demned as persecution, may fall within the bounds of legitimate 
selfdefence; and such was in the year 1687 the situation of 

According to the constitution of the realm, James possessed 
the right of naming almost all public functionaries, political, 
judicial, ecclesiastical, military, and naval. In the exercise of 
this right he was not, as our sovereigns now are, under the 
necessity of acting in conformity with the advice of ministers 
approved by the House of Commons. It was evident therefore 
that, unless he were strictly bound by law to bestow office on 
none but Protestants, it would be in his power to bestow office 
on none but Roman Catholics. The Roman Catholics were 
few in number ; and among them was not a single man whose 
services could be seriously missed by the commonwealth. The 
proportion which they bore to the population of England was 
very much smaller than at present. For at present a constant 
stream of emigration runs from Ireland to our great towns : but 
in the seventeenth century there was not even in London an 
Irish colony. More than forty-nine fiftieths of the inhabitants 
of the kingdom, more than forty-nine fiftieths of the property 
of the kingdom, almost all the political, legal, and military ability 
and knowledge to be found in the kingdom, were Protestant. 
Nevertheless the King, under a strong infatuation, had deter- 
mined to use his vast patronage as a means of making proselytes. 
To be of his Church was, in his view, the first of all qualifica- 
tions for office. To be of the national Church was a positive dis- 
qualification. He reprobated, it is true, in language which has 
been applauded by some credulous friends of religious liberty, the 
monstrous injustice of that test which excluded a small minority 
of the nation from public trust : but he was at the same time in- 
stituting a test which excluded the majority. He thought it hard 
that a man who was a good financier and a loyal subject should 
be excluded from the post of Lord Treasurer merely for being a 
Papist. But he had himself turned out a Lord Treasurer whom 


he admitted to be a good financier and a loyal subject merely for 
being a Protestant. lie had repeatedly and distinctly declared 
his resolution never to put the white staff in the hands of any 
heretic. With many other great offices of state he had dealt in 
the same way. Already the Lord President, the Lord Privy 
Seal, the Lord Chamberlain, the Groom of the Stole, the First 
Lord of the Treasury, the principal Secretary of State, the 
Lord High Commissioner of Scotland, the Chancellor of 
Scotland, the Secretary of Scotland, were, or pretended to be, 
Roman Catholics. Most of these functionaries had been bred 
Churchmen, and had been guilty of apostasy, open or secret, 
in order to obtain or to keep their high places. Every Protes- 
tant who still held an important post in the government held it 
in constant uncertainty and fear. It would be endless to recount 
the situations of a lower rank which were filled by the favoured 
class. Roman Catholics already swarmed in every department 
of the public service. They were Lords Lieutenants, Deputy 
Lieutenants, Judges, Justices of the Peace, Commissioners of 
the Customs, Envoys to foreign courts. Colonels of regiments, 
Governors of fortresses. The share which in a few months they 
had obtained of the temporal patronage of the crown was much 
more than ten times as great as they would have had under an 
impartial system. Yet this was not the worst. They were made 
rulers of the Church of England. Men who had assured the 
King that they held his faith sate in the High Commission, and 
exercised supreme jurisdiction in spiritual things over all the 
prelates and priests of the established religion. Ecclesiastical 
benefices of great dignity had been bestowed, some on avowed 
Papists, and some on half concealed Papists. And all this had 
been done while the laws against Popery were still unrepealed, 
and while James had still a strong interest in affecting respect 
for the rights of conscience. What then was his conduct likely 
to be, if his subjects consented to free him, by a legislative act, 
from even the shadow of restraint ? Is it possible to doubt that 
Protestants would have been as effectually excluded from em- 
ployment, by a strictly legal use of the royal prerogative, as 
ever Roman Catholics had been by Act of Parliament ? 


How obstinately James was determined to bestow on the 
members of his own Church a share of patronage altogether out 
of proportion to their numbers and importance is proved by 
the instructions which, in exile and old age, he drew up for 
the guidance of his son. It is impossible to read without min- 
gled pity and derision those effusions of a mind on which all the 
discipline of experience and adversity had been exhausted in 
vain. The Pretender is advised, if ever he should reign in Eng- 
land, to make a partition of offices, and carefully to reserve for 
the members of the Church of Rome a portion which might 
have sufficed for them if they had been one half instead of one 
fiftieth part of the nation. One Secretary of State, one Com- 
missioner of the Treasury, the Secretary at War, the majority 
of the great dignitaries of the household, the majority of the 
officers of the army, are always to be Catholics. Such were the 
designs of James after his perverse bigotry had drawn on him 
a punishment which had appalled the whole world. Is it then 
possible to doubt what his conduct would have been if his peo- 
ple, deluded by the empty name of religious liberty, had suf- 
fered him to proceed without any check ? 

Even Penn, intemperate and undiscerning as was his zeal for 
the Declaration, seems to have felt that the partiality with 
which honours and emoluments were heaped on Roman Catho- 
lics might not unnaturally excite the jealousy of the nation. He 
owned that, if the Test Act were repealed, the Protestants were 
entitled to an equivalent, and went so far as to suggest several 
equivalents. During some weeks the word equivalent, then 
lately imported from France, was in the mouths of all the coffee- 
house orators ; but at length a few pages of keen logic and 
polished sarcasm written by Halifax put an end to these idle 
projects. One of Penn's schemes was that a law should be 
passed dividing the patronage of the crown into three equal 
parts, and that to one only of those parts members of the Church 
of Rome should be admitted. Even under such an arrangement 
the members of the Church of Rome would have obtained near 
twenty times their fair portion of official appointments ; and 
yet there is no reason to believe that even to such an arrange- 

222 niSTORY of England. 

ment the King would have consented. But, had he consented, 
what guarantee could he give that he would adhere to his bar- 
gain ? The dilemma propounded by Halifax was unanswer- 
able. If laws are binding on you, observe the law which now 
exists. If laws are not binding on you, it is idle to offer us a 
law as a security.* 

It is clear, therefore, that the point at issue was not whether 
secular offices should be thrown open to all sects indifferently. 
"While James was Kin?- it was inevitable that there should be 
exclusion ; and the only question was who should be excluded, 
Papists or Protestants, the few or the many, a hundred thou- 
sand Englishmen or five millions. 

Such are the weighty arguments by which the conduct of 
the Prince of Orange towards the English Roman Catholics 
may be reconciled with the principles of religious liberty. These 
arguments, it will be observed, have no reference to any part 
of the Koman Catholic theology. It will also be observed 
that they ceased to have any force when the crown had been 
settled on a race of Protestant sovereigns, and when the power 
of the House of Commons in the state had become so decidedly 
preponderant that no sovereign, whatever might have been his 
opinions or his inclinations, could have imitated the example of 
James. The nation, however, after its terrors, its struggles, its 
narrow escape, was in a suspicious and vindictive mood. Means of 
defence therefore which necessity had once justified, and which 
necessity alone could justify, were obstinately used long aft or 
the necessity had ceased to exist, and were not abandoned till 
vulgar prejudice had maintained a contest of many years against 
reason. But in the time of James reason and vulgar prejudice 
were on the same side. The fanatical and ignorant wished to 
exclude the Koman Catholic from office, because he worshipped 
stocks and stones, because he had the mark of the beast, because 
he had burned down London, because lie had strangled Sir 
Edmondsbury Godfrey ; and the most judicious and tolerant 
statesman, while smiling at the delusions which imposed on 

* Johnstone, Jan. 13, 1C88 ; Halifax's Anatomy of an Equivalent. 


the populace, was led, by a very different road, to the same 

The great object of William was now to unite in one body 
the numerous sections of the community which regarded him as 
their common head. In this work he had several able and 
trusty coadjutors, among whom two were preeminently useful, 
Burnet and Dykvelt. 

The services of Burrtet indeed it was necessary to employ 
with some caution. The kindness with which he had been wel- 
comed at the Hague had excited the rage of James. Mary re- 
ceived from her father two letters filled with invectives against 
the insolent and seditious divine whom she protected. But these 
accusations had so little effect on her that she sent back answers 
dictated by Burnet himself. At length, in January 1687, the 
King had recourse to stronger measures. Skelton, who had rep- 
resented the English government in the United Provinces, was 
removed to Paris, and was succeeded by Albeville, the weakest 
and basest of all the members of the Jesuitical cabal. Money 
was Albeville's one object ; and he took it from all who offered 
it. He was paid at once by France and by Holland. Nay, he 
stooped below even the miserable dignity of corruption, and ac- 
cepted bribes so small that they seemed better suited to a por- 
ter or a lacquey than to an Envoy who had been honoured with 
an English baronetcy and a foreign marquisate. On one occa- 
sion he pocketed very complacently a gratuity of fifty pistoles as 
the price of a service which he had rendered to the States Gen- 
eral. This man had it in charge to demand that Burnet should 
no longer be countenanced at the Hague. William, who was 
not inclined to part with a valuable friend, answered at first with 
his usual coldness ; " I am not aware, sir, that, since the Doctor 
has been here, he has done or said anything of which his Majes- 
ty can justly complain." But James was peremptory : the time 
for an open rupture had not arrived ; and it was necessary to 
give way. During more than eighteen months Burnet never 
came into the presence of either the Prince or the Princess : 
but he resided near them : he was fully informed of all that was 
passing : his advice was constantly asked . his pen was employ- 


ed on all important occasions ; and many of the sharpest and 
most effective tracts which about that time appeared in London 
were justly attributed to him. 

The rage of James flamed high. He had always been more 
than sufficiently prone to the angry passions. But none of his 
enemies, not even those who had conspired against his life, not 
even those who had attempted by perjury to load him with the 
guilt of treason and assassination, had ever been regarded by him 
with such animosity as he now felt for Burnet. His Majesty 
railed daily at the Doctor in unkingly language, and meditated 
plans of unlawful revenge. Even blood would not slake that 
frantic hatred. The insolent divine must be tortured before he 
was permitted to die. Fortunately he was by birth a Scot ; and 
in Scotland, before he was gibbeted in the Grassniarket, his legs 
might be dislocated in the boot. Proceedings were accordingly 
instituted against him at Edinburgh : but he had been natural- 
ised in Holland : he had married a woman of fortune who was 
a native of that province ; and it was certain that his adopted 
country would not deliver him up. It was therefore determined 
to kidnap him. Ruffians were hired with great sums of money 
to perform this perilous and infamous service. An order for 
three thousand pounds on this account was actually drawn up for 
signature in the office of the Secretary of State. Lewis was ap- 
prised of the design, and took a warm interest in it. He would 
lend, he said, his best assistance to convey the villain to England, 
and would undertake that the ministers of the vengeance of 
James should find a secure asylum in France. Burnet was well 
aware of his danger : but timidity was not among his faults. 
He published a courageous answer to the charges which had 
been brought against him at Edinburgh. He knew, he said, that 
it was intended to execute him without a trial : but his trust was 
in the King of Kin^s, to whom innocent blood would not cry in 
vain, even against the mightiest princes of the earth, lie gave 
a farewell dinner to some friends, and, alter the meal, took sol- 
emn leave: of them, as a man who was doomed to death, and with 
whom they could no longer s;<fely converse. Nevertheless he 
continued to show himself in all the public places of the Hague 


bo boldly that his friends reproached him bitterly with his fool- 

While Burnet was William's secretary for English affairs in 
Holland, Dykvelt had been not less usefully employed in Lon- 
don. Dykvelt was one of a remarkable class of public men 
who, having been bred to politics in the noble school of John De 
Witt, had, after the fall of that great minister, thought that they 
should best discharge their duty to the commonwealth by rally- 
ing round the Prince of Orange. Of the diplomatists in the 
service of the United Provinces none was, in dexterity, temper, 
and manners, superior to Dykvelt. In knowledge of English 
affairs none seems to have been his equal. A pretence was 
found for despatching him early in the year 1687, to England 
on a special mission with credentials from the States General. 
But in truth his embassy was not to the government but to the 
opposition ; and his conduct was guided by private instructions 
which had been drawn by Burnet, and approved by William.f 

Dykvelt reported that James was deeply mortified by the 
conduct of the Prince and Princess. " My nephew's duty," 
said the King, " is to strengthen my hands. But he has always 
taken a pleasure in crossing me." Dykvelt answered that in 
matters of private concern His Highness had shown, and was 
ready to show, the greatest deference to the King's wishes ; but 

* Burnet, i. 726-731; Answer to the Criminal Letters issued out against Dr. Bur- 
net ; Avaux Neg. July 7-17. 14-24, * uIy ^' 1687, Jan. 19-29, 1688 ; Lewis toBarillon, 

Dec. 30, 1087 _ . . _ . Aus '« 

Jan 9 l o&F' Johnston of Wanstoun, Feb. 21, 1688 ; Lady Russell to Dr. Fitzwil- 
liam, Oct. 5, 1687. As it has been suspected that Burnet, who certainly was not 
in the habit of underrating his own importance, exaggerated the danger to which 
die was exposed, I will give the words of Lewis and of Johnstone. " Qui que ce 
soit," says Lewis, "qui entreprenne de l'enlever en Hollande trouvera non 
eeulement une retraite assuree et une entiere protection dans mes etats, mais 
aussi toute l'assistance qu'il pourra desirer pour faire conduire surement ce 
scelerat en Angleterre." ** The business of Bamfield (Burnet) is certainly true," 
says Johnstone. " No man doubts of it here, and some concerned do not deny it. 
His friends say they hear he takes no care of himself, but out of vanity to show 
his courage, shows his folly ; so that, if ill happen on it, all people will laugh at 
it. Pray tell him so much from Jones (Johnstone). If some could be eatched 
making their coup d'essai on him, it will do much to frighten them from making 
any attempt on Ogle (the Prince)." 

+ Burnet, i. 708 ; Avaux Neg. Jan. 3-13, Feb. 6-16, 1687 ; Van Kampen, Karak- 
terkunde der Vaderlandache Qeschiedenis. 

Vol. II.— 15 

22G history or England. 

that it was scarcely reasonable to expect the aid of a Protestant 
Prince against the Protestant religion.* The King was si- 
lenced but not appeased. He saw, with ill humour which he could 
not disguise, that Dykvelt was mustering and drilling all the 
various divisions of the opposition with a skill that would have 
been creditable to the ablest English statesman, and which was 
marvellous in a foreigner. The clergy were told that they 
would find the Prince a friend to episcopacy and to the Book of 
Common Prayer. The Nonconformists were encouraged to 
expect from him, not only toleration, but also comprehension. 
Even the Roman Catholics were conciliated ; and some of the 
most respectable among them declared to the King's face, that 
they were satisfied with what Dykvelt proposed, and that they 
would rather have a toleration secured by statute, than an ille- 
gal and precarious ascendency. f The chiefs of all the impor- 
tant sections of the nation had frequent conferences in the pres- 
ence of the dexterous Envoy. At these meetings the sense of 
the Tory party was chiefly spoken by the Earls of Danby and 
Nottingham. Though more than eight years had elapsed since 
Danby had fallen from power, his name was still great among 
the Old Cavaliers of England ; and many even of those Whigs 
who had formerly persecuted him were now disposed to admit 
that he had suffered for faults not his own, and that his zeal 
for the prerogative, though it had often misled him, had been 
tempered by two feelings which did him honour, zeal for the 
established religion, and zeal for the dignity and independence 
of his country. lie was also highly esteemed at the Hague, 
where it was never forgotten that he was the person who, in 
spite of the influence of France and of the Papists, had induced 
Charles to bestow the hand of the Lady Mary on her cousin. 

Daniel Finch, Earl of Nottingham, a nobleman whose name 
will frequently recur in the history of three eventful reigns, 
sprang from a family of unrivalled forensic eminence. One 
of his kinsmen had borne the seal of Charles the First, had 

* Burnet, 1.711. Dykvelt's despatches to the States Qeneral contain, OS far M 
I have teen or can learn, not a word about, tho real object of his mission. 1 1 is 
correspondence with the Prince of Orange was strictly private, 

t Bonrepaux, Sept. 12-22, 1087. 


prostituted eminent parts and learning to evil purposes, and 
had been pursued by the vengeance of the Commons of Eng- 
land with Falkland at their head. A more honourable renown 
had in the succeeding generation been obtained by Heneage 
Finch. He had immediately after the Restoration been appoint- 
ed Solicitor General. He had subsequently risen to be Attor- 
ney General, Lord Keeper, Lord Chancellor, Baron Finch, and 
Earl of Nottingham. Through this prosperous career he had 
always held the prerogative as high as he honestly or decently 
could ; but he had never been concerned in any machinations 
against the fundamental laws of the realm. In the midst of a 
corrupt court he had kept his personal integrity unsullied. He 
had enjoyed high fame as an orator, though his diction, formed on 
models anterior to the civil wars, was, towards the close of his life, 
pronounced stiff and pedantic by the wits of the rising generation. 
In Westminster Hall he is still mentioned with respect as the 
man who first educed out of the chaos anciently called by the 
name of equity a new system of jurisprudence, as regular and 
complete as that which is administered by the Judges of the 
Common Law.* A considerable part of the moral and in- 
tellectual character of this great magistrate had descended with 
the title of Nottingham to his eldest son. This son, Earl Daniel, 
was an honourable and virtuous man. Though enslaved by some 
absurd prejudices, and though liable to strange fits of caprice, 
he cannot be accused of having deviated from the path of right 
in search either of unlawful gain or of unlawful pleasure. Like 
his father he was a distinguished speaker, impressive but prolix, 
and too monotonously solemn. The person of the orator was in 
perfect harmony with his oratory. His attitude was rigidly 
erect : his complexion was so dark that he might have passed for 
a native of a warmer climate than ours ; and his harsh features 
were composed to an expression resembling that of a chief 
mourner at a funeral. It was commonly said that he looked 
rather like a Spanish Grandee than like an English gentleman. 
The nicknames of Dismal, Don Dismallo, and Don Diego, were 
fastened on him by jesters, and are not yet forgotten. He had 

* See Lord Campbell's Life of him. 


paid much attention to the science by which his family had been 
raised to greatness, and was, for a man born to rank and wealth, 
wonderfully well read in the laws of his country. He was a 
d" voted "son of the Church, and showed his respect for her in 
two ways not usual among those Lords who in his 'time boasted 
that they were her especial friends, by writing tracts in defence 
of her dogmas, and by shaping his private life according to her 
precepts. Like other zealous churchmen, he had, till recently, 
been a strenuous supporter of monarchical authority. But to the 
policy which had been pursued since the suppression of the 
Western insurrection he was bitterly hostile, and not the less so 
because his younger brother Heneasre had been turned out of 
the office of Solicitor General for refusing to defend the King's 
dispensing power.* 

With these two great Tory Earls was now united Halifax, 
the accomplished chief of the Trimmers. Over the mind of 
Nottingham indeed Halifax appears to have had at this time a 
great ascendency. Between Halifax and Danby there was an 
enmity which began in the court of Charles, and which, at a 
later period, disturbed the court of AVilliam, but which, like many 
other enmities, remained suspended during the tyranny of James. 
The foes frequently met in the councils held by Dykvelt, and 
agreed in expressing dislike of the policy of the government and 
reverence for the Prince of Orange. The different characters 
of the two statesmen appeared strongly in their dealings with 
the Dutch Envoy. Halifax showed an admirable talent for dis- 
quisition, but shrank from coming to any bold and irrevocable 
decision. Danby, far less subtle and eloquent, displayed more 
energy, resolution, and practical sagacity. 

Several eminent Whigs were in constant communication 
with Dykvelt : but the heads of the great houses of Cavendish 
and Russell could not take quite so active and prominent a part 
as might have been expected from their station and their opin- 
ions. The fame and fortunes of Devonshire were at that mo- 

* Johnstone's Correspondence ; Maekay's Memoirs ; Arbuthnot's John Bull ; 
Swift's writings from 1710 to 1714, passim; Winston's Letter to the Earl of Not- 
tingham and the Earl's answer. 


merit under a cloud. He had an unfortunate quarrel with the 
Court, arising, not from a public and honourable cause, but from 
a private brawl in which even his warmest friends could not 
pronounce him altogether blameless. He had gone to Whitehall 
to pay his duty, and had there been insulted by a man named 
Colepepper, one of a set of bravoes who infested the purlieus of 
the court, and attempted to curry favour with the government 
by affronting members of the opposition. The King himself ex- 
pressed great indignation at the manner in which one of his most 
distinguished peers had been treated under the royal roof ; and 
Devonshire was pacified by an intimation that the offender 
should never again be admitted into the palace. The interdict, 
however, was soon taken off. The Earl's resentment revived. 
His servants took up his cause. Hostilities such as seemed to 
belong to a ruder as;e disturbed the streets of Westminster. 
The time of the Privy Council was occupied by the criminations 
and recriminations of the adverse parties. Colepepper's wife 
declared that she and her husband went in danger of their lives, 
and that their house had been assaulted by ruffians in the Caven- 
dish livery. Devonshire replied that he had been fired at from 
Colepepper's windows. This was vehemently denied. A pistol, 
it was owned, loaded with gunpowder, had been discharged. But 
this had been done in a moment of terror merely for the pur- 
pose of alarming the Guards. While this feud was at the 
height the Earl met Colepepper in the drawingroom at 
Whitehall, and fancied that he saw triumph and defiance in 
the bully's countenance. Nothing unseemly passed in the royal 
sight ; but, as soon as the enemies had left the presence cham- 
ber, Devonshire proposed that they should instantly decide 
their dispute with their swords. This challenge was refused. 
Then the high spirited peer forgot the respect which he owed 
to the place where he stood and to his own character, and struck 
Colepepper in the face with a cane. All classes agreed in con- 
demning this act as most indiscreet and indecent ; nor could 
Devonshire himself, when he had cooled, think of it without 
vexation and shame. The government, however, with its usual 
folly, treated him so severely that in a short time the public 


sympathy was all on his side. A criminal information was 
filed in the King's Bench. The defendant took his stand on 
the privileges of the peerage ; but on this point a decision was 
promptly given against him ; nor is it possible to deny that the 
decision, whether it were or were not according to the technical 
rules of English law, was in strict conformity with the great 
principles on which all laws ought to be framed. Nothing was 
then left to him but to plead guilty. The tribunal had, by 
successive dismissions, been reduced to such complete subjec- 
tion, that the government which had instituted the prosecution 
was allowed to prescribe the punishment. The Judges waited 
in a body on Jeffreys, who insisted that they should impose a 
fine of not less than thirty thousand pounds. Thirty thousand 
pounds, when compared with the revenues of the English gran- 
dees of that age, may be considered as equivalent to a hundred 
and fifty thousand pounds in the nineteenth century. In the 
presence of the Chancellor not a word of disapprobation was 
uttered : but, when the Judges had retired, Sir John Powell, in 
whom all the little honesty of the bench was concentrated, mut- 
tered that the proposed penalty was enormous, and that one 
tenth part would be amply sufficient. His brethren did not 
asn-ee with him ; nor did he, on this occasion, show the courage 
by which, on a memorable day some months later, he signally 
retrieved his fame. The Earl was accordingly condemned to a 
fine of thirty thousand pounds, and to imprisonment till pay- 
ment should be made. Such a sum could not then be raised at 
a day's notice even by the greatest of the nobility. The sen- 
tence of imprisonment, however, was more easily pronounced 
than executed. Devonshire had retired to Chats worth, where 
he was employed in turning the old Gothic mansion of his fam- 
ily into an edifice worthy of Palladio. The Peak was in those 
days almost as rude a district as Connemara now is, and the 
Sheriff found, or pretended, that it was difficult to arrest the 
lord of so wild a region in the midst of a devoted household and 
tenantry. Some days were thus gained : but at last both the 
Earl and the Sheriff were lodged in prison. Meanwhile a 
crowd of intercessors exerted their influence. The story ran 


chat the Countess Dowager of Devonshire had obtained admit- 
tance to the royal closet, that she had reminded James how her 
brother in law, the gallant Charles Cavendish, had fallen at 
Gainsborough fighting for the crown, and that she had produced 
notes, written by Charles the First and Charles the Second, 
in acknowledgment of great sums lent by her Lord during the 
civil troubles. Those loans had never been repaid, and, with 
the interest, amounted, it was said, to more even than the im- 
mense fine which the Court of King's Bench had imposed. 
There was another consideration which seems to have had more 
weight with the King than the memory of former services. It 
might be necessary to call a Parliament. Whenever that event 
took place it was believed that Devonshire would bring a writ 
of error. The point on which he meant to appeal from the 
judgment of the King's Bench related to the privileges of peer- 
age. The tribunal before which the appeal must come was the 
House of Peers. On such an occasion the Court could not be 
certain of the support even of the most courtly nobles. There 
was little doubt that the sentence would be annulled, and that, 
by grasping at too much, the government would lose all. James 
was therefore disposed to a compromise. Devonshire was in- 
formed that, if he would give a bond for the whole fine, and 
thus preclude himself from the advantage which he might de- 
rive from a writ of error, he should be set at liberty. "Whether 
the bond should be enforced or not would depend on his subse- 
quent conduct. If he would support the dispensing power 
nothing would be exacted from him. If he was bent on popu- 
larity he must pay thirty thousand pounds for it. Pie refused, 
during some time, to consent to these terms ; but confinement 
was insupportable to him. He signed the bond, and was let 
out of prison : but, though he consented to lay this heavy bur- 
den on his estate, nothing could induce him to promise that he 
would abandon his principles and his party. He was still en- 
trusted with all the secrets of the opposition : but during some 
months his political friends thought it best for himself and for 
the good cause that he should remain in the background. * 

* Keunct's funeral sermon on the Duke of Devonshire, and Memoirs of the 


The Earl of Bedford had never recovered from the effects 
of the great calamity which, four years before, had almost 
broken his heart. From private as well as from public feelings 
he was adverse to the court : but he was not active in concert- 
ing measures against it. His place in the meetings of the male- 
contents was supplied by his nephew. This was the celebrated 
Edward Russell, a man of undoubted courage and capacity, but 
of loose principles and turbulent temper. He was a sailor, had 
distinguished himself in his profession, and had in the late reign 
held an office in the palace. But all the ties which bound him 
to the royal family had been sundered by the death of his cousin 
William. The daring, unquiet, and vindictive seaman now sate in 
the councils called by the Dutch Envoy as the representative of 
the boldest and most eager section of the opposition, of those men 
who, under the names of Roundheads, Exclusionists, and Whigs, 
had maintained with various fortune a contest of five and forty 
years against three successive Kings. This party, lately pros- 
trate and almost extinct, but now again full of life and rapidly 
rising to ascendency, was troubled by none of the scruples which 
still impeded the movements of Tories and Trimmers, and was 
prepared to draw the sword against the tyrant on the first 
day on which the sword could be drawn with reasonable hope 

of success. 

Three men are yet to be mentioned with whom Dykvelt was 
in confidential communication, and by whose help he hoped to 
secure the good will of three great professions. Bishop Comp- 
ton was the agent employed to manage the clergy : Admiral 
Herbert undertook to exert all his influence over the navy ; and 
an interest was established in the army by the instrumentality 
of Churchill. 

The conduct of Compton and Herbert requires no explana- 

faniily of Cavendish ; State Trials ; Privy Council Book, March 5, 1G8 5-0 ; Barillon 
Juneao, 16g7 Johnstone Dec. 8-18, 1687 ; Lords' Journals, May 6, 1CS9. " Ses 

Julv 10 

amis et ses proches," says Barillon, "ltd conseillent de prendre Ie bon parti, 
niais il persiste jusqu'^ present a. ne se point soumettre. S'il vouloit se bien 
cowduire et renoneera elre populaire, il nepayeroit pasl'aniende, mais s'il opin- 
iatre, il lui en coutera trente niille pieces, et il demeurera prisonnier jusqu'a 
l'actuel payement." 


tion. Having, in all things secular, served the crown with zeal 
and fidelity, they had incurred the royal displeasure by refusing 
to be employed as tools for the destruction of their own religion. 
Both of them had learned by experience how soon James forgot 
obligations, and how bitterly he remembered what it pleased 
him to consider as wrongs. The Bishop had by an illegal sen- 
tence been suspended from his episcopal functions. The Ad- 
miral had in one hour been reduced from opulence to penury. 
The situation of Churchill was widely different. He had been 
raised by the royal bounty from obscurity to eminence, and 
from poverty to wealth. Having started in life a needy ensign, 
he was now, in his thirty-seventh year, a Major General, a peer 
of Scotland, a peer of England : he commanded a troop of 
Life Guards : he had been appointed to several honourable and 
lucrative offices ; and as yet there was no sign that he had lost 
any part of the tavour to which he owed so much. He was bound 
to James, not only by the common obligations of allegiance, 
but by military honour, by personal gratitude, and, as appeared 
to superficial observers, by the strongest ties of interest. But 
Churchill himself was no superficial observer. He knew ex- 
actly what his interest really was. If his master were once at full 
liberty to employ Papists, not a single Protestant would ba 
employed. For a time a few highly favoured servants of the 
crown might possibly be exempted from the general proscrip- 
tion m the hope that they would be induced to change their re- 
ligion. But even these would, after a short respite, fall one by 
one, as Rochester had already fallen. Churchill might indeed 
secure himself from this danger, and might raise himself still 
higher in the royal favour, by conforming to the Church of 
Home ; and it might seem that one who was not less distin- 
guished by avarice and baseness than by capacity and valour 
was not likely to be shocked at the thought of hearing a mass. 
But so inconsistent is human nature that there are tender spots 
even in seared consciences. And thus this man, who had owed 
his rise to his sister's dishonour, who had been kept by the 
most profuse, imperious, and shameless of harlots, and whose 
public life, to those who can look steadily through the dazzling 


blaze of genius and glory, will appear a prodigy of turpitude, 
believed implicitly in the religion which he had learned as a 
boy, and .shuddered at the thought of formally abjuring it. A 
terrible alternative was before him. The earthly evil which 
he most dreaded was poverty. The one crime from which his 
heart recoiled was apostasy. And, if the designs of the court 
succeeded, he could not doubt that between poverty and apos- 
tasy he must soon make his choice. He therefore determined 
to cross those designs ; and it soon appeared that there was no 
guilt and no disgrace which he was not ready to incur, in order 
to escape from the necessity of parting either with his places or 
with his religion.* 

It was not only as a military commander, high in rank, and 
distinguished by skill and courage, that Churchill was able to 
render services to the opposition. It was, if not absolutely 
essential, yet most important, to the success of William's plans 
that his sister in law, who, in the order of succession to the 
English throne, stood between his wife and himself, should act 
in cordial union with him. All his difficulties would have been 
greatly augmented if Anne had declared herself favourable to 
the Indulgence. Which side she might take depended on the 
will of others. For her understanding was sluggish ; and, 
though there was latent in her character a hereditary wilfulness 
and stubbornness which, many years later, great power and great 
provocations developed, she was as yet a willing slave to a na- 
ture far more vivacious and imperious than her own. The per- 
son by whom she was absolutely governed was the wife of 
Churchill, a woman who afterwards exercised a great influence 
on the fate of England and of Europe. 

The name of this celebrated favourite was Sarah Jennings. 
Her elder sister, Frances, had been distinguished by beauty and 
levity even among the crowd of beautiful faces and light charac- 

■* The motive which determined the conduct of the Churchllls i^ shortly and 
plainly sel forth in the Duchess of Marlborough's Vindication. "It was," she 
says, " evident to all the world that, as things were carried on by King Jamas, 
everybody sooner or later musl be ruined, who would not become a Roman cath- 
olic This consideration made mo very well pleased at the Prince of Orange's 
undertaking to rescue us from such slavery." 


ters which adorned and disgraced Whitehall during the wild 
carnival of the Restoration. On one occasion Frances dressed 
herself like an orange girl and cried fruit about the streets.* 
Sober people predicted that a girl of so little discretion and 
delicacy would not easily find a husband. She was however 
twice married, and was now the wife of Tyrconnel. Sarah, less 
regularly beautiful, was perhaps more attractive. Her face 
was expressive : her form wanted no feminine charm ; and the 
profusion of her fine hair, not yet disguised by powder according 
to that barbarous fashion which she lived to see introduced, 
was the delight of numerous admirers. Among the gallants 
who sued for her favour, Colonel Churchill, young, handsome, 
graceful, insinuating, eloquent, and brave, obtained the prefer- 
ence. He must have been enamoured indeed. For he had 
little property except the annuity which he had bought with 
the infamous wages bestowed on him by the Duchess of Cleve- 
land : he was insatiable of riches : Sarah was poor ; and a 
plain girl with a large fortune was proposed to him. 
His love, after a struggle, prevailed over his avarice : marriage 
only strengthened his passion ; and to the last hour of his life, 
Sarah enjoyed the pleasure and distinction of being the one 
human being who was able to mislead that farsighted and sure- 
footed judgment, who was fervently loved by that cold heart, 
and who was servilely feared by that intrepid spirit. 

In a worldly sense the fidelity of Churchill's love was amply 
rewarded. His bride, though slenderly portioned, brought with 
her a dowry which, judiciously employed, made him at length a 
Duke of England, a Prince of the Empire, the captain general 
of a great coalition, the arbiter between mighty princes, and, 
what he valued more, the wealthiest subject in Europe. She 
had been brought up from childhood with the Princess Anne ; 
and a close friendship had arisen between the girls. In charac- 
ter they resembled each other very little. Anne was slow and 
taciturn. To those whom she loved she was meek. The form 
which her anger assumed was sullenness. She had a strong 
sense of religion, and was attached even with bigotry to the 
* Grammont's Memoirs ; Pepys's Diary, Feb. 21, 1084-5 

236 niSTORY ov England. 

rites and government of the Church of England. Sarah was 
lively and voluble, domineered over those whom she regarded 
with most kindness, and, when she was offended, vented her 
rage in tears and tempestuous reproaches. To sanctity she 
made no pretence, and, indeed, narrowly escaped the imputation 
of irreligion. She was not vet what she became when one class 
of vices had been fully developed in her by prosperity, and 
another by adversity, when her brain had been turned by suc- 
cess and flattery, when her heart had been ulcerated by disasters 
and mortifications. She lived to be that most odious and miser- 
able of human beings, an ancient crone at war with her whole 
kind, at war with her own children and grandchildren, great in- 
deed and rich, but valuing greatness and riches chiefly because 
they enabled her to brave public opinion, and to indulge with- 
out restraint her hatred to the living and the dead. In the 
reign of James she was regarded as nothing worse than a fine 
highspirited young woman, who could now and then be cross 
and arbitrary, but whose flaws of temper might well be par- 
doned in consideration of her charms. 

It is a common observation that differences of taste, under- 
standing, and disposition, are no impediments to friendship, and 
that the closest intimacies often exist between minds each of 
which supplies what is wanting to the other. Lady Churchill 
was loved and even worshipped by Anne. The Princess could 
not live apart from the object of her romantic fondness. She 
married, and was a faithful and even an affectionate wife. But 
Prince George, a dull man whose chief pleasures were derived 
from his dinner and his bottle, acquired over her no influence 
comparable to that exercised by her female friend, and soon 
gave himself up w r ith stupid patience to the dominion of the 
vehement and commanding spirit by which his wife was gov- 
erned. Children were born to the royal pair ; and Anne was 
by no means without the feelings of a mother. But the tender- 
ness which she felt for her offspring was languid when com- 
pared with her devotion to the companion of her early years. 
At length the Princess became impatient of the restraint which 
etiquette imposed on her. She could not bear to hear the 


words Madam and Hoyal Highness from the lips of one who 
was more to her than a sister. Such words were indeed ne- 
cessary in the gallery or the drawingroom : but they were disused 
in the closet. Anne was Mrs. Morley : Lady Churchill was 
Mrs. Freeman ; and under these childish names was carried on 
during twenty years a correspondence on which at last the fate 
of administrations and dynasties depended. But as yet Anne 
had no political power and little patronage. Her friend at- 
tended her as first Lady of the Bedchamber, with a salary of 
only four hundred pounds a year. There is reason, however, 
to believe that, even at this time, Churchill was able to gratify 
his ruling passion by means of his wife's influence. The Prin- 
cess, though her income was large and her tastes simple, con- 
tracted debts which her father, not without some murmurs, 
discharged; and it was rumoured that her embarrassments had 
been caused by her prodigal bounty to her favourite.* 

At length the time had arrived when this singular friend- 
ship was to exercise a great influence on public affairs. What 
part Anne would take in the contest which distracted England 
was matter of deep anxiety. Filial duty was on one side ; and 
the interests of the religion to which she was sincerely attached, 
were on the other. A less inert nature might well ha*e re- 
mained long in suspense when drawn in opposite directions by 
motives so strong and so respectable. But the influence of the 
Churchills decided the question ; and their patroness became an 
important member of that extensive league of which the Prince 
of Orange was the head. 

In June 1G87 Dykvelt returned to the Hague. He pre- 
sented to the States General a royal epistle filled with eulogies 
of his conduct during his residence in London. These eulogies 
however were merely formal. James, in private communica- 
tions written with his own hand, bitterly complained that the 
Envoy had lived in close intimacy with the most factious men 
in the realm, and had encouraged them in all their evil pur- 

* It would be endless to recount all the books from which I have formed my 
estimate of the duchess's character. Her own letters, her own vindication, and. 
the replies which it called forth, have been my chief materials. 


poses. Dykvelt carried with him also a packet of letters from 
the most eminent of those with whom ho had conferred during 
his stay in England. The writers generally expressed un- 
bounded reverence and affection for William, and referred him 
to the hearer for fuller information as to their views. Halifax 
discussed the state and prospects of the country with his usual 
subtlety and vivacity, hut took care not to pledge himself to 
any perilous line of conduct. Dan by wrote in a bolder and 
more determined tone, and could not refrain from slily sneering 
at the fears and scruples of his accomplished rival. But the 
most remarkable letter was from Churchill. It was written 
with that natural eloquence which, illiterate as he was, he never 
wanted on great occasions, and with that air of magnanimity 
which, perfidious as he was, he could with singular dexterity 
assume. The Princess Anne, he said, had commanded him to 
assure her illustrious relatives at the Hague that she was fully 
resolved by God's help rather to lose Iter life than to be guilty 
of apostasy. As for himself, his places and the royal favour 
were as nothing to him in comparison with his religion. He 
concluded by declaring in lofty language that, though he could 
not pretend to have lived the life of a saint, he should be found 
reatTV, on occasion, to die the death of a martyr.* 

Dykvelt's mission had succeeded so well that a pretence was 
soon found for sending another agent to continue the work which 
had been so auspiciously commenced. The new Envoy, after- 
wards the founder of a noble English house which became extinct 
in our own time, was an illegitimate cousin german of 'William ; 
and bore a title taken from the lordship of Zulestein. Zulestein's 
relationship to the House of Orange gave him importance in the 
public eye. His bearing was that of a gallant soldier. He was 
indeed in diplomatic talents and knowledge far inferior to Dyk- 
velt : but even this inferiority had its advantages. A military man, 
who had never appeared to trouble himself about political affairs, 
could, without exciting any suspicion, hold with the English 

* The formal epistle which Dykvelt carried hack to the Stairs is in the Ar- 
chives at the Hague. The other letters mentioned in this paragraph are given 
by Dalryuiple ; Appendix to Book V. 


aristocracy an intercourse which, if he had been a noted master 
of statecraft, would have been jealously watched. Zulestein, 
after a short absence, returned to his country charged with 
letters and verbal messages not less important than those which 
had been entrusted to his predecessor. A regular correspond- 
ence was from this time established between the Prince and the 
opposition. Agents of various ranks passed and repassed between 
the Thames and the Hague. Among these a Scotchman, of some 
parts and great activity, named Johnstone, was the most useful. 
He was cousin to Burnet, and son of an eminent covenanter 
who had, soon after the Restoration, been put to death for trea- 
son, and who was honoured by his party as a martyr. 

The estrangement between the King of England and the 
Prince of Orange became daily more complete. A serious dis- 
pute had arisen concerning the six British regiments which were 
in the pay of the United Provinces. The King wished to put 
these regiments under the command of Roman Catholic officers. 
The Prince resolutely opposed this design. The King had 
recourse to his favourite commonplaces about toleration. The 
Prince replied that he only followed His Majesty's example. It 
was notorious that loyal and able men had been turned out of 
office in England merely for being Protestants. It was then 
surely competent to the Stadtholder and the States General to 
withhold high public trusts from Papists. This answer pro- 
voked James to such a degree that, in his rage, he lost sight of 
veracity and common sense. It was false, he vehemently said, 
that he had ever turned out any body on religious grounds. And 
if he had, what was that to the Prince or to the States ? Were 
they his masters ? Were they to sit in judgment on the conduct 
of foreign sovereigns ? From that time he became desirous to 
recall his subjects who were in the Dutch service. By bringing 
them over to England he should, he conceived, at once strength- 
en himself, and weaken his worst enemies. But there were 
financial difficulties which it was impossible for him to overlook. 
The number of troops already in his pay was as great as his 
revenue, though large beyond all precedent, and though parsi- 
moniously administered, would support. If the battalions now 


in Holland were added to the existing establishment, the 
Treasury would be bankrupt. Perhaps Lewis might be induced 
to take them into his service. They would in that case be removed 
from a country where they were exposed to the corrupting in- 
fluence of a republican government and a Calvinistic worship, 
and would be placed in a country where none ventured to dis- 
pute the mandates of the sovereign or the doctrines of the true 
Church. The soldiers would soon unlearn every political and 
religious heresy. Their native prince might always, at short 
notice, command their help, and would, on any emergency, be 
able to rely on their fidelity. 

A negotiation on this subject was opened between Whitehall 
and Versailles. Lewis had as many soldiers as he wanted ; 
and, had it been otherwise, he would not have been disposed to 
take Englishmen into his service ; for the pay of England, low 
as it must seem to our generation, was much higher than the 
pay of France. At the same time, it was a great object to 
deprive William of so fine a brigade. After some weeks of corre- 
spondence, Barillon was authorised to promise that, if James 
would recall the British troops from Holland, Lewis would bear 
the charge of supporting two thousand of them in England. This 
offer was accepted by James with warm expressions of gratitude. 
Having made these arrangements, he requested the States Gene- 
ral to send back the six regiments. The States General, com- 
pletely governed by William, answered that such a demand, in 
such circumstances, was not authorised by the existing treaties, 
and positively refused to comply. It is remarkable that Amster- 
dam, which had voted for keeping these troops in Holland when 
James needed their help against the Western insurgents, now 
contended vehemently that his request ought to be granted. On 
both occasions, the sole object of those who ruled that great city 
was to cross the Prince of Orange.* 

* Sunderland to William, Aug. 24, 1GSG ; William to Sunderland, Sept. 2-12. 

1GP.G ; Barillon, May 6-16. ^ ;,v -' : - Oct. 3-13. ^ ' — 1687 ! L, ' wis u> Barillon, Oct. 

June 5. Dec & 

1 1 24, 1687 ; Memorial of Albeville, Dec. 15-25, 1687 : .James to William, Jan. 17, 
Feb. 1G, March 2, 13, 1G88 ; Avaux Neg., March 1-11, C-1C, S-lt>, ~~^- iCS 8 


The Dutch arms, however, were scarcely so formidable to 
James as the Dutch presses. English books aud pamphlets 
against his government were daily printed at the Hague ; nor 
could any vigilance prevent copies from being smuggled, by tens 
of thousands, into the counties bordering on the German Ocean. 
Among these publications, one was distinguished by its import- 
ance, and by the immense effect which it produced. The opin- 
ion which the Prince and Princess of Orange held respecting the 
Indulgence was well known to all who were conversant with 
public affairs. But, as no official announcement of that opinion 
had appeared, many persons who had not access to good private 
sources of information were deceived or perplexed by the confi- 
dence with which the partisans of the Court asserted that their 
Highnesses approved of the King's late acts. To contradict 
those assertions publicly would have been a simple and obvious 
course, if the sole object of William had been to strengthen his 
interest in England. But he considered England chiefly as an 
instrument necessary to the execution of his great European de- 
sign. Towards that design he hoped to obtain the cooperation 
of both branches of the House of Austria, of the Italian princes, 
and even of the Sovereign Pontiff. There was reason to fear 
that any declaration which was satisfactory to British Protes- 
tants would excite alarm and disgust at Madrid, Vienna, Turin, 
and Rome. For this reason the Prince long abstained from for- 
mally expressing his sentiments. At length it was represented 
to him that his continued silence had excited much uneasiness 
and distrust among his wellwishers, and that it was time to 
speak out. He therefore determined to explain himself. 

A Scotch Whig, named James Stewart, had fled some years 
before to Holland, in order to avoid the boot and the gallows, and 
had become intimate with the Grand Pensionary Fagel, who en- 
joyed a large share of the Stadtholder's confidence and favour. 
By Stewart had been drawn up the violent and acrimonious 
manifesto of Argyle. When the Indulgence appeared, Stewart 
conceived that he had an opportunity of obtaining, not only par- 
don, but reward. He offered his services to the government of 
which he had been the enemy : they were accepted ; and he ad- 
Vol. IL— 1 


dressed to Fagel a letter, purporting to have been written by tho 
direction of James. In that letter the Pensionary was exhort- 
ed to use all his influence with the Prince and Princess, for the 
purpose of inducing them to support their father's policy. After 
some delay Fagel transmitted a reply, deeply meditated, and 
drawn up with exquisite art. No person who studies that remark- 
able document can fail to j^erceive that, though it is framed in a 
manner well calculated to reassure and delight English Protes- 
tants, it contains not a word which could give offence, even at 
the Vatican- It was announced that William and Mary would, 
with pleasure, assist in abolishing every law which made any Eng- 
lishman liable to punishment for his religious opinions. But be- 
tween punishments and disabilities a distinction was taken. To 
admit Roman Catholics to office would, in the judgment of their 
Highnesses, be neither for the general interest of England nor 
even for the interest of the Roman Catholics themselves. This 
manifesto was translated into several languages, and circulated 
widely on the Continent. Of the English version, carefully pre- 
pared by Burnet, near fifty thousand copies were introduced 
into the eastern shires, and rapidly distributed over the whole 
kingdom. No state paper was ever more completely successful. 
The Protestants of our island applauded the manly firmness with 
which William declared that he could not consent to entrust Pa- 
pists with any share in the government. The Roman Catholic 
princes, on the other hand, were pleased by the mild and tem- 
perate style in which his resolution was expressed, and by the 
hope which he held out that, under his administration, no mem- 
ber of their Church would be molested on account of religion. 

It is probable that the Pope himself was among those who 
read this celebrated letter with pleasure. He had some months 
before dismissed Castelmaine in a manner which showed little 
regard for the feelings of Castelmaine's master. Innocent 
thoroughly disliked the whole domestic and foreign policy of 
the English government. He saw that the unjust and impolitic 
measures of the Jesuitical cabal were far more likely to make 
the penal laws perpetual than to bring about an abolition of 
the test. His quarrel with the court of Versailles was every 


day becoming more and more serious ; nor could he, either 
in his character of temporal prince or in his character of Sov- 
ereign Pontiff, feel cordial friendship for a vassal of that court. 
Castelmaine was ill qualified to remove these disgusts. He was 
indeed well acquainted with Rome, and was, for a layman, 
deeply read in theological controversy.* But he had none of the 
address which his post required ; and, even had he been a di- 
plomatist of the greatest ability, there was a circumstance which 
would have disqualified him for the particular mission on which 
he had been sent. He was known all over Europe as the hus- 
band of the most shameless of women ; and he was known in no 
other way. It was impossible to speak to him or of him without 
remembering in what manner the very title by which he was 
called had been acquired. This circumstance would have mat- 
tered little if he had been accredited to some dissolute court, 
such as that in which the Marchioness of Montespan had lately 
been dominant. But there was an obvious impropriety in send- 
ing him on an embassy rather of a spiritual than of a secular 
nature to a pontiff of primitive austerity. The Protestants all 
over Europe sneered ; and Innocent, already unfavourably dis- 
posed to the English government, considered the compliment 
which had been paid him, at so much risk and at so heavy a 
cost, as little better than an affront. The salary of the Ambas- 
sador was fixed at a hundred pounds a week. Castelmaine com- 
plained that this was too little. Thrice the sum, he said, would 
hardly suffice. For at Rome the ministers of the great Conti- 
nental powers exerted themselves to surpass one another in 
splendour, under the eyes of a people whom the habit of seeing 
magnificent buildings, decorations, and ceremonies had made 
fastidious. He always declared that he had been a loser by his 
mission. He was accompanied by several young gentlemen of 
the best Roman Catholic families in England, Ratcliffes, Arun- 
dells and Tichbornes. At Rome he was lodged in the palace of 
the house of Pamhli on the south of the stately Place of Navona. 
He was early admitted to a private interview with Innocent : 
but the public audience was long delayed. Indeed Castelmaine's 

* Adda, Nov. 9-19, 1GS5. 


preparations for the great occasion were so sumptuous that 
though commenced at Easter 1G8G, they were not complete 
till the following November ; and in November the Pope had, 
or pretended to have, an attack of gout which caused another 
postponement. In January 1G87, at length the solemn intro- 
duction and homage were performed with unusual pomp. The 
state coaches, which had been built at Rome for the pageant, 
were so superb that they were thought worthy to be transmittal 
to posterity in fine engravings and to be celebrated by poets in 
several languages.* The front of the Ambassador's palace was 
decorated on this great day with absurd allegorical paintings of 
gigantic size. There was Saint George with his foot on the neck 
of Titus Oates, and Hercules with his club crushing College, 
the Protestant joiner, who in vain attempted to defend himself 
with his flail. After this public appearance Castelmaine in- 
vited all the persons of note then assembled at Rome to banquet 
in that gay and splendid gallery which is adorned with paintings 
of subjects from the JEneid by Peter of Cortona. The whole 
city crowded to the show ; and it was with difficulty that a com- 
pany of Swiss guards could keep order among the spectators. 
The nobles of the Pontilical state in return gave costly enter- 
tainments to the Ambassador ; and poets and wits were employed 
to lavish on him and on his master insipid and hyperbolical ad- 
ulation such as nourishes most when genius and taste are in the 
deepest decay. Foremost among the flatterers was a crowned 
head. More than thirty years had elapsed since Christina, the 
daughter of the great Gustavus, had voluntarily descended from 

* The Professor of Greek in the College I)e Propaganda Fide expressed his 
admiration in some detestable hexameters and pentameters, of which the follow- 
ing specimen may suffice : — 

"Puyepiov 6?/ aiceibu/uevog ?.au7rpo'io 0piafi,3ov } 

o)na fidV i/iaaev nal Ueev ox'-og anag' 
Oav/ud^ovaa de r?/v —ounyv, irayxpbaea r" a'vro'v 

ap^ara, rovg 0' irrrrorf, Toiatie Pw/i// i'6//. 

The Latin verses are a little better. Nahum Tate responded in English : 

" II iu glorious traiu and pawing pomp to view, 
A pomp that even to Rome itself w:is new, 
Each age, each Bex, the Lotion turrets tilled, 
Each ujje and s>e* in tears of joy distilled." 


the Swedish throne. After long wanderings, in the course of 
which she had committed many follies and crimes, she had 
finally taken up her abode at Rome, where she busied herself 
with astrological calculations and with the intrigues of the con- 
clave, and amused herself with pictures, gems, manuscripts, and 
medals. She now composed some Italian stanzas in honour of 
the English prince, who sprung, like herself, from a race of 
Kin«\s heretofore regarded as the champions of the Reformation, 
had, like herself, been reconciled to the ancient Church. A splen- 
did assembly met in her palace. Her verses, set to music, were 
sung with universal applause : and one of her literary depend- 
dents pronounced an oration on the same subject in a style so 
florid that it seems to have offended the taste of the English 
hearers. The Jesuits, hostile to the Pope, devoted to the in- 
terests of France, and disposed to pay every honour to James, 
received the English embassy with the utmost pomp in that 
princely house where the remains of Ignatius Loyola lie. en- 
shrined in lazulite and gold. Sculpture, painting, poetry, and 
eloquence were employed to compliment the strangers : but all 
these arts had sunk into deep degeneracy. There was a great 
display of turgid and impure Latinity unworthy of so erudite 
an order ; and some of the inscriptions which adorned the walls 
had a fault more serious than even a bad style. It was said in 
one place that James had sent his brother as his messenger to 
heaven, and in another that James had furnished the wings with 
which his brother had soared to a higher region. There was a 
still more unfortunate distich, which at the time attracted little 
notice, but which, a few months later, was remembered and 
malignantly interpreted. " O King," said the poet, " cease to 
sigh for a son. Though nature may refuse your wish, the stars 
will find a way to grant it." 

In the midst of these festivities Castelmaine had to suffer 
cruel mortifications and humiliations. The Pope treated him 
with extreme coldness and reserve. As often as the Ambas- 
sador pressed for an answer to the request which he had been 
instructed to make in favour of Petre, Innocent was taken with 
a violent fit of coughing, which put an end to the conversation. 


The fame of these singular audiences spread over Rome. Pas- 
quin was not silent. All the curious and tattling population of 
the idlest of cities, the Jesuits and the prelates of the French 
faction only excepted, laughed at Castelmaine's discomfiture. 
His temper, naturally unamiable, was soon exasperated to vio- 
lence ; and he circulated a memorial reflecting on the Pope. 
He had now put himself in the wrong. The sagacious Italian 
had got the advantage, and took care to keep it. He positively 
declared that the rule which excluded Jesuits from ecclesiasti- 
cal preferment should not be relaxed in favour of Father Petre. 
Caste! maine, much rjrovoked, threatened to leave Rome. Inno- 
cent replied, with a meek impertinence which was the more 
provoking because it could scarcely be distinguished from sim- 
plicity, that His Excellency might go if he liked. M But if we 
must lose him," added the venerable Pontiff, " I hope that he 
will take care of his health on the road. English people do not 
know how dangerous it is in this country to travel in the heat 
of the day. The best way is to start before dawn, and to take 
some rest at noon." With this salutary advice, and with a 
string of beads, the unfortunate Ambassador was dismissed. In 
a few months appeared, both in the Italian and in the English 
tongue, a pompous history of the mission, magnificently printed 
in folio, and illustrated with plates. The frontispiece, to the 
great scandal of all Protestants, represented Castelmaine, in 
the robes of a Peer, with his coronet in his hand, kissing the 
toe of Innocent.* 

* Correspondence of James and Innocent, in the British Museum ; Burnet, i. 
70.VJ05; Welwood's Memoirs; Commons' Journals, Oct. 28, 1(>89 ; An Account 
of his Excellency Roger Earl of Castelmaine's Embassy, by Michael Wright chief 
steward of His Excellency's house at Rome, 1G88 



The marked discourtesy of' the Pope might well have irritated 
the meekest of princes. But the only effect which it produced 
on James was to make him more lavish of caresses and compli- 
ments. While Castelmaine, his whole soul festering with angry 
passions, was on the road back to England, the Nuncio was 
loaded with honours which his own judgment would have led him 
to reject. He had, by a fiction often used in the Church of Rome, 
been lately raised to the episcopal dignity without having the 
charge of any see. He was called Archbishop of Amasia, a 
city of Pontus, the birthplace of Strabo and Mithridates. James 
insisted that the ceremony of consecration should be performed 
in the chapel of Saint James's Palace. The Vicar Apostolic 
Leyburn and two Irish prelates officiated. The doors were 
thrown open to the public ; and it was remarked that some of 
those Puritans who had recently turned courtiers were among 
the spectators. In the evening Adda, wearing the robes of his 
new office, joined the circle in the Queen's apartments. James 
fell on his knees in the presence of the whole court and implored 
a blessing. In spite of the restraint imposed by etiquette, the 
astonishment and disgust of the bystanders could not be con- 
cealed.* It was long indeed since an English sovereign had 
knelt to mortal man ; and those who saw the strange sight could 
not but think of that day of shame when John did homage for 
his crown between the hands of Randolph. 

In a short time a still more ostentatious pageant was per- 
formed in honour of the Holy See. It was determined that the 
Nuncio should go to court in solemn procession. Some persons 
on whose obedience the King had counted showed, on this occa- 

* Barillon, May 2-12, 1687. 


sion, for the first time, signs of a mutinous spirit. Among these 
the most conspicuous was the second temporal peer of the realm, 
Charles Seymour, commonly called the proud Duke of Somerset 
He was in truth a man in whom the pride of birth and rank 
amounted almost to a disease. The fortune which he had in- 
herited was not adequate to tlie high place which he held among 
the English aristocracy : but he had become possessed of the 
greatest estate in England by his marriage with the daughter 
and heiress of the last Percy who wore the ancient coronet of 
Northumberland. Somerset was only in his twenty-fifth year, 
and was very little known to the public. He was a Lord of the 
King's Bedchamber, and colonel of one of the regiments which 
had been raised at the time of the Western insurrection. He 
had not scrupled to carry the sword of state into the royal chapel 
on days of festival : but he now resolutely refused to swell the 
pomp of the Nuncio. Some members of his family implored 
him not to draw on himself the royal displeasure : but their en- 
treaties produced no effect. The King himself expostulated. 
" I thought, my Lord," said he, '» that I was doing you a great 
honour in appointing you to escort the minister of the first of 
all crowned heads. " " Sir,'* said the Duke, " I am advised that 
I cannot obey Your Majesty without breaking the law." " I 
will make you fear me as well as the law," answered the King, 
insolently. u Do you not know that I am above the law ? " 
" Your Majesty may be above the law," replied Somerset, " but 
I am not ; and, while I obey the law, I fear nothing." The King 
turned away in high displeasure ; and Somerset was instantly 
dismissed from his posts in the household and in the army * 

On one point, however, James showed some prudence. He 
did not venture to parade the Papal Envoy in State before the 
vast population of the capital. The ceremony was performed, 
on the third of July 1687, at Windsor. Great multitudes flocked 
to the little town. The visitors were so numerous that there was 
neither food nor lodging for them ; and many persons of quality 

* Memoirs of the Duke of Somerset ; Van Titters. July 5-15, 1687 ; Eachanrs 
History Of the Revolution; Life of James the Second, ii. 116, 117, 118; Lord 
Lonsdale's Memoirs. 


sate the whole day in their carriages waiting for the exhibition. 
At length, late in the afternoon, the Kuight Marshal's men 
appeared on horseback. Then came a long train of running 
footmen ; and then, in a royal coach, was seen Adda, robed in 
purple, with a brilliant cross on his breast. He was followed by 
the equipages of the principal courtiers and ministers of state. 
In his train the crowd recognised with disgust the arms and 
liveries of Crewe, Bishop of Durham, and of Cartwright, Bishop 
of Chester.* 

On the following day appeared in the Gazette a proclama- 
tion' dissolving that Parliament which of all the fifteen Par- 
liaments held by the Stuarts had been the most obsequious.! 

Meanwhile new difficulties had arisen in Westminster Hall. 
Only a few months had elapsed since some Judges had been 
turned out and others put in for the purpose of obtaining a de- 
cision favourable to the crown in the case of Sir Edward Hales ; 
and already fresh changes were necessary. 

The King had scarcely formed that army on which he chiefly 
depended for the accomplishing of his designs when he found that 
he could not himself control it. When war was actually raging in 
the kingdom, a mutineer or a deserter might be tried by a mili- 
tary tribunal, and executed by the Provost Marshal. But there 
was now profound peace. The common law of England, hav- 
ing sprung up in an age when all men bore arms occasionally 
and none constantly, recognised no distinction, in time of peace, 
between a soldier and any other subject ; nor was there any 
Act resembling that by which the authority necessary for the 
government of regular troops is now annually confided to the 
Sovereign. Some old statutes indeed made desertion felony in 
certain specified cases. But those statutes were applicable only 
to soldiers serving the King in actual war, and could not with- 
out the grossest disingenuousness be so strained as to include 
the case of a man who, in a time of tranquillity, should become 
tired of the camp at Hounslow, and should go back to his native 

* London Gazette, July 7, 1687 ; Van Citters, July 7-17. Account of the cer- 
emony reprinted among the Somers Tracts. 
t London Gazette, July 4, 1687. 


village. The government appears to have had no hold on such 
a man, except the hold which master bakers and master tailors 
have on their journeymen, lie and his officers were, in the 
eye of the law, on a level. If he swore at them he might be 
lined for an oath. If he struck them he might be prosecuted 
for assault and battery. In truth the regular army was under 
less restraint than the militia. For the militia was a body 
established by an Act of Parliament ; and it had been provided 
by that Act that slight punishments might be summarily inflict- 
ed for breaches of discipline. 

It does not appear that, during the reign of Charles the 
Second, the practical inconvenience arising from this state of 
the law had been much felt. The explanation may perhaps be 
that, till the last year of his reign, the force which he maintain- 
ed in England consisted chiefly of household troops, whose pay 
was so high that dismission from the service would have been 
felt by most of them as a great calamity. The stipend of a 
private in the Life Guards was a provision for the younger son 
of a gentleman. Even the Foot Guards were paid about as 
high as manufacturers in a prosperous season, and were there- 
fore in a situation which the great body of the labouring popu- 
lation might regard with envy. The return of the garrison of 
Tangier and the raising of the new regiments had made a great 
change. There were now in England many thousands of sol- 
diers, each of whom received only eightpence a day. The dread 
of dismission was not sufficient to keep them to their duty ; and 
corporal punishment their officers could not legally inflict. 
James had therefore one plain choice before him, to let his army 
dissolve itself, or to induce the Judges to pronounce that the 
law was what every barrister in the Temple knew that it was 

It was peculiarly important to secure the cooperation of two 
courts, the court of King's Bench, which was the first criminal 
tribunal in the realm, and the court of gaol delivery which sate 
at the Old Bailey, and which had jurisdiction over offences com- 
mitted in the capital. In both these courts there were groat 
difficulties. Herbert, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, servile 


as he had hitherto been, would go no further. Resistance still 
more sturdy was to be expected from Sir John Holt, who, as 
Recorder of the City of London, occupied the bench at the Old 
Bailey. Holt was an eminently learned and clearheaded lawyer : 
he was an upright and courageous man ; and, though he had 
never been factious, his political opinions had a tinge of Whig- 
gism. All obstacles, however, disappeared before the royal 
will. Holt was turned out of the recordership ; Herbert and 
another Judge were removed from the King's Bench ; and the 
vacant places were filled by persons in whom the government 
could confide. It was indeed necessary to go very low down 
in the legal profession before men could be found willing to 
render such services as were now required. The new Chief 
Justice, Sir Robert Wright, was ignorant to a proverb ; yet 
ignorance was not his worst fault. His vices had ruined him. 
He had resorted to infamous ways of raising money, and had, 
on one occasion, made a false affidavit in order to obtain pos- 
session of five hundred pounds. Poor, dissolute, and shameless, 
he had become one of the parasites of Jeffreys, who promoted 
him and insulted him. Such was the man who was now select- 
ed by James to be Lord Chief Justice of England. One Rich- 
ard Allibone, who was even more ignorant of the law than 
Wright, and who, as a Roman Catholic, was incapable of hold- 
ing office, was appointed a puisne Judge of the King's Bench. 
Sir Bartholomew Shower, equally notorious as a servile Tory 
and a tedious orator, became Recorder of London. When 
these changes had been made, several deserters were brought 
to trial. They were convicted in the face of the letter and of 
the spirit of the law. Some received sentence of death at the 
bar of the King's Bench, and some at the Old Bailey. They 
were hanged in sight of the regiments to which they had be- 
longed ; and care was taken that the executions should be an- 
nounced in the London Gazette, which very seldom noticed 
such events.* 

* See the statutes 18 Henry 6, c. 19 ; 2 & 3 Ed. 6, c. 2 ; Eachard's History of 
the Revolution ; Kennet, iii. 4GS ; North's Life of Guildford, 217 ; London 
Gazette, April 18, May 23, 1C87 ; Vindication of the E. of R. (Earl of Rochester). 


It may well be believed, that the law, bo grossly insulted by 
courts which derived from it all their authority, and which were 
in the habit of looking to it as their guide, would be little re- 
spected by a tribunal which had originated in tyrannical caprice. 
The new High Commission had, during the first months of its 
existence, merely inhibited clergymen from exercising spiritual 
functions. The rights of property had remained untouched. 
But, early in the year 1GS7, it was determined to strike at 
freehold interests, and to impress on every Anglican priest and 
prelate the conviction that, if he refused to lend his aid for the 
purpose of destroying the Church of which he was a minister, 
he would in an hour be reduced to beirrrarv. 

It would have been prudent to try the first experiment on 
some obscure individual. But the government was under an 
infatuation such as, in a more simple age, would have been 
called judicial. War was therefore at once declared against 
the two most venerable corporations of the realm, the Universi- 
ties of Oxford and Cambridge. 

The power of those bodies has during many ages been great ; 
but it was at the height during the latter part of the seventeenth 
century. None of the neighbouring countries could boast of 
such splendid and opulent seats of learning. The schools of 
Edinburgh, and Glasgow, of Leyden and Utrecht, of Louvaiu 
and Leipsic, of Padua and Bologna, seemed mean to scholars 
who had been educated in the magnificent foundations of 
"Wykeham and Wolsey, of Henry the Sixth and Henry the 
Eighth. Literature and science were, in the academical sys- 
tem of England, surrounded with pomp, armed with magistracy, 
and closely allied with all the most august institutions of the 
state. To be the Chancellor of an University was a distinc- 
tion eagerly sought by the magnates of the realm. To repre- 
sent an University in Parliament was a favourite object of the 
ambition of statesmen. Nobles and even princes were proud 
to receive from an University the privilege of wearing the 
doctoral scarlet. The curious were attracted to the Universities 
by ancient buildings rich with the tracery of the middle ages, 
by modern buildings which exhibited the highest skill of Jones 


and Wren, by noble halls and chapels, by museums, by botani- 
cal gardens, and by the only great public libraries which the 
kingdom then contained. The state which Oxford especially 
displayed on solemn occasions rivalled that of sovereign princes. 
When her Chancellor, the venerable Duke of Ormond, sate in 
his embroidered mantle on his throne under the painted ceiling 
of the Sheldonian theatre, surrounded by hundreds of graduates 
robed according to their rank, while the noblest youths of Eng- 
land were solemnly presented to him as candidates for academi- 
cal honours, he made an appearance scarcely less regal than 
that which his master made in the Banqueting House of White- 
hall. At the Universities had been formed the minds of almost 
all the eminent clergymen, lawyers, physicians, wits, poets, and 
orators of the land, and of a large proportion of the nobility 
and of the opulent gentry. It is also to be observed that the 
connection between the scholar and the school did not terminate 
with his residence. He often continued to be through life a 
member of the academical body, and to vote as such at all im- 
portant elections. lie therefore regarded his old haunts by the 
Cam and the Isis with even more than the affection which 
educated men ordinarily feel for the place of their education. 
There was no corner of England in which both Universities 
had not grateful and zealous sons. Any attack on the honour 
or interests of either Cambridge or Oxford was certain to excite 
the resentment of a powerful, active, and intelligent class, scat- 
tered over every county from Northumberland to Cornwall. 

The resident graduates, as a body, were perhaps not supe- 
rior positively to the resident graduates of our time ; but they 
occupied a far higher position as compared with the rest of the 
community. For Cambridge and Oxford were then the only 
two provincial towns in the kingdom in which could be found a 
large number of men whose understandings had been highly 
cultivated. Even the capital felt great respect for the authority 
of the Universities, not only on questions of divinity, of natural 
philosophy, and of classical antiquity, but also on points which 
capitals generally claim the right of deciding in the last resort. 
From Will's coffeehouse, and from the pit of the theatre royal 


in Drury Lane, an appeal lay to the two great national seats ot 
taste and learning. Plays which had been enthusiastically ap- 
plauded in London were not thought out of danger till they 
had undergone the more severe judgment of audiences familiar 
with Sophocles and Terence.* 

The great moral and intellectual influence of the English 
Universities had been strenuously exerted on the side of the 
crown. The head quarters of Charles the First had been at 
Oxford ; and the silver tankards and salvers of all the colleges 
had been melted down to supply his military chest. Cambridge 
was not less loyally disposed. She had sent a large part of her 
plate to the royal camp ; and the rest would have followed had 
not the town been seized by the troops of the Parliament. Both 
Universities had been treated with extreme severity by the vic- 
torious Puritans. Both had hailed the Restoration with delight- 
Both had steadily opposed the Exclusion Bill. Both had ex- 
pressed the deepest horror at the Rye House plot. Cambridge 
had not only deposed her Chancellor Monmouth, but had mark- 
ed her abhorrence of his treason in a manner unworthy of a 
seat of learning, by committing to the flames the canvass on 
which his pleasing face and figure had been portrayed by the 
utmost skill of Kneller.f Oxford, which lay nearer to the 
Western insurgents, had given still stronger proofs of loyalty. 
The students, under the sanction of their preceptors, had taken 
arms by hundreds in defence of hereditary right. Such were 
the bodies which James now determined to insult and plunder 
in direct defiance of the laws and of his plighted faith. 

Several Acts of Parliament, as clear as any that were to be 
found in the statute book, had provided that no person should 
be admitted to any degree in either University without taking 
the oath of supremacy, and another oath of similar character 
called the oath of obedience. Nevertheless, in February 1G87, 

* Dryden's Prologues and Cibber's Memoirs contain abundant proofs of tho 
estimation in which the taste of the Oxonians was held by the most admired 
poets and actors. 

t See the poem called Advice to the Painter upon the Defeat of the Etebela in 
the West. See also another poem, a most detestable one, on the same subject, 
by Stepney, who was then studying at Trinity College. 


a royal letter was sent to Cambridge directing that a Bene- 
dictine monk, named Alban Francis, should be admitted a 
Master of Arts. 

The academical functionaries, divided between reverence for 
the King and reverence for the law, were in great distress. 
Messengers were despatched in all haste to the Duke of Albe- 
marle, who had succeeded Monmouth as Chancellor of the 
University. He was requested to represent the matter properly 
to the King. Meanwhile the Registrar and Bedells waited on 
Francis, and informed him that, if he would take the oaths ac- 
cording to law, he should instantly be admitted. He refused to 
be sworn, remonstrated with the officers of the University on 
their disregard of the royal mandate, and, finding them resolute, 
took horse, and hastened to relate his grievances at Whitehall. 

The heads of the colleges now assembled in council. The 
best legal opinions were taken, and were decidedly in favour of 
the course which had been pursued. But a second letter from 
Sunderland, in high and menacing terms, was already on the 
road. Albemarle informed the University, with many expres- 
sions of concern, that he had done his best, but that he had 
been coldly and ungraciously received by the King. The academ- 
ical body, alarmed by the royal displeasure, and conscientiously 
desirous to meet the royal wishes, but determined not to violate 
the clear law of the land, submitted the humblest and most re- 
spectful explanations, but to no purpose. In a short time came 
down a summons citing the Vicechancellor and the Senate to 
appear before the new High Commission at Westminster on 
the twenty-first of April. The Vicechancellor was to attend in 
person : the Senate, which consists of all the Doctors and Mas- 
ters of the University, was to send deputies. 

When the appointed day arrived, a great concourse filled 
the Council chamber. Jeffreys sate at the head of the board. 
Rochester, since the white staff had been taken from him, 
was no longer a member. In his stead appeared the Lord 
Chamberlain, John Sheffield, Earl of Mulgrave. The fate of 
this nobleman has, in one respect, resembled the fate of his 
colleague Sprat. Mulgrave wrote verses which scarcely ever 


rose above absolute mediocrity ; but as he was a man of high 
note in the political and fashionable world, these verses found 
admirers. Time dissolved the charm, but, unfortunately for 
him, not until his lines had acquired a prescriptive right to a 
place in all collections of the works of English poets. To 
this day accordingly his insipid essays in rhyme and his paltry 
songs to Amoretta and Gloriana are reprinted in company with 
Comus and Alexander's Feast. The consequence is that our 
generation knows Mulgrave chiefly as a poetaster, and despises 
him as such. In truth however he was, by the acknowledgment 
of those who neither loved or esteemed him, a man distinguished 
by fine parts, and in parliamentary eloquence inferior to scarce- 
ly any orator of his time. His moral character was entitled to 
no respect. He was a libertine without that openness of heart 
and hand which sometimes makes libertinism amiable, and a 
haughty aristocrat without the elevation of sentiment which 
sometimes makes aristocratical haughtiness respectable. The 
satirists of the age nicknamed him Lord Allpride, and pro- 
nounced it strange that a man who had so exalted a sense of 
his dignity should be so hard and niggardly in all pecuniary 
dealings. He had given deep offence to the royal family by 
venturing to entertain the hope that he might win the heart and 
hand of the Princess Anne. Disappointed in this attempt, he 
had exerted himself to regain by meanness the favour which he 
had forfeited by presumption. His epitaph, written by himself, 
still informs all who pass through Westminster Abbey that he 
lived and died a sceptic in religion : and we learn from his 
memoirs, written by himself, that one of his favourite subjects 
of mirth was the Romish superstition. Yet he began, as soon 
as James was on the throne, to express a strong inclination 
towards Popery, and at length in private affected to be a con- 
vert. This abject hypocrisy had been rewarded by a place in 
the Ecclesiastical Commission.* 

* Mackay's character of Sheffield, with Swift's note ; The Satire on the Depo- 
nents, less : Life of John, Duke of Buckinghamshire, 1720 ; Barillon, Aug. 30, 
]f)K7. I hare a manuscript lampoon on Mulgrave, dated 1690. It is not destitute 
of spirit. The most remarkable lines are these : — 

•" TWers (Petrol today and Burnet tomorrow. 
Knaves of all aides and religions he'll woo." 


Before that 'formidable tribunal now appeared the Vice- 
chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Doctor John Pe- 
chell. He was a man of no great ability or vigour ; but he was 
accompanied by eight distinguished academicians, elected by the 
Senate. One of these was Isaac Newton, Fellow of Trinity 
College, and Professor of mathematics. His genius was then 
in the fullest vigour. The great work, which entitles him to 
the highest place among the geometricians and natural philoso- 
phers of all ages and of all nations, had been some time printing 
under the sanction of the Royal Society, and was almost ready 
for publication. He was the steady friend of civil liberty and 
of the Protestant religion : but his habits by no means fitted 
him for the conflicts of active life. He thereiere stood mod- 
estly silent among the delegates, and left to men more versed in 
practical business the task of pleading the cause of his beloved 

Never was there a clearer case. The law was express. 
The practice had been almost invariably in conformity with 
the law. It might perhaps have happened that, on a day of 
great solemnity, when many honorary degrees were conferred, 
a person who had not taken the oaths might have passed in the 
crowd. But such an irregularity, the effect of mere haste 
and inadvertence, could not be cited as a precedent. Foreign 
ambassadors of various religions, and in particular one Mussul- 
man, had been admitted without the oaths. But it might well 
be doubted whether such cases fell within the reason and spirit 
of the Acts of Parliament. It was not even pretended that any 
person to whom the oaths had been tendered and who had re- 
fused them had ever taken a degree ; and this was the situation 
in which Francis stood. The delegates offered to prove that, 
in the late reign, several royal mandates had been treated as 
nullities because the persons recommended had not chosen to 
qualify according to law, and that, on such occasions, the gov- 
ernment had always acquiesced in the propriety of the course 
taken by the University. But Jeffreys would hear nothing. 
He soon found out that the Vicechancellor was weak, ignorant, 
and timid, and therefore gave a loose to all that insolence which 
Vol. II.— 17 


had long been the terror of the Old Bailey. The unfortunate 
Doctor, unaccustomed to such a presence and to such treatment, 
was soon harassed and scared into helpless agitation. When 
other academicians who were more capable of defending their 
cause attempted to speak they were rudely silenced. u You are 
not Vicechancellor. When you are, you may talk. Till then 
it will become you to hold your peace." The defendants were 
thrust out of the court without a hearing. In a short time they 
were called in again, and informed that the Commissioners had 
determined to deprive Pechell of the Vicechancellorship, and to 
suspend him from all the emoluments to which he was entitled 
as Master of a college, emoluments which were strictly of the 
nature of freehold property. " As for you," said Jeffreys to 
the delegates, " most of you are divines. I will therefore send 
you home with a text of scripture, ' Go your way and sin no 
more, lest a worse thing happen to you.' " * 

These proceedings might seem sufficiently unjust and violent. 
But the King had already begun to treat Oxford with such 
rigour that the rigour shown towards Cambridge might, by 
comparison, be called lenity. Already University College had 
been turned by Obadiah Walker into a Roman Catholic semi- 
nary. Already Christ Church was governed by a Roman 
Catholic Dean. Mass was already said daily in both those 
colleges. The tranquil and majestic city, so long the strong- 
hold of monarchical principles, was agitated by passions which 
it had never before known. The undergraduates, with the con- 
nivance of those who were in authority over them, hooted the 
members of Walker's conoresation, and chanted satirical ditties 
under his windows. Some fragments of the serenades which 
then disturbed the High Street have been preserved. The 
burden pf one ballad was this : 

" Old Obadiah 
Sings Ave Maria." 

When the actors came down to Oxford, the public feeling 
was expressed still n>ore strongly, Howard's Committee was 

* See the proceedings ag:dnst tho University of Cambridgo in the collection 
of State Trials. 


performed. This play, written soon after the Restoration, ex- 
hibited the Puritans in an odious and contemptible light and 
had therefore been, during a quarter of a century, a favourite 
with Oxonian audiences. It was now a greater favourite than 
ever ; for, by a lucky coincidence, one of the most conspicuous 
characters was an old hypocrite named Obadiah. The audience 
shouted with delight when, in the last scene, Obadiah was 
dragged in with a halter round his neck ; and the acclamations 
redoubled when one of the players, departing from the written 
text of the comedy, proclaimed that Obadiah should be hanged 
because he had changed his religion. The King was much pro- 
voked by this insult. So mutinous indeed was the temper of 
the University that one of the newly raised regiments, the same 
which is now called the Second Dragoon Guards, was quartered 
at Oxford for the purpose of preventing an outbreak.* 

These events ought to have convinced James that he had 
entered on a course which must lead him to hjs ruin. To the 
clamours of London he had been long accustomed. They had 
been raised against him, sometimes unjustly, and sometimes 
vainly. He had repeatedly braved them, and might brave them 
still. But that Oxford, the seat of loyalty, the head quarters 
of the Cavalier army, the place where his father and brother 
had held their court when they thought themselves insecure in 
their stormy capital, the place where the writings of the great 
republican teachers had recently been committed to the flames, 
should now be in a ferment of discontent, that those high-spirited 
youths who a few months before had eagerly volunteered to 
march against the Western insurgents should now be with dif- 
ficulty kept down by sword and carbine, these were signs full of 
evil omen to the House of Stuart. The warning, however, was 
lost on the dull, stubborn, selfwilled tyrant. He was resolved to 
transfer to his own Church all the wealthiest and most splendid 
foundations of England. It was to no purpose that the best 
and wisest of his Roman Catholic counsellors remonstrated. 
They represented to him that he had it in his power to render 

* Wood's Athenae Oxonienses ; Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber ; Van 
Citters, March 2-12, 1686. 


a cTeat service to the cause of his religion without violating the 
rights of property., A grant of two thousand pounds ;i year 
from his privy purse would support a Jesuit college at Oxford. 
Such a sum he might easily spare. Such a college, provided 
with able, learned, and zealous teachers, would be a formidable 
rival to the old academical institutions, which exhibited but too 
many symptoms of the languor almost inseparable from opulence 
and security. King James's College would soon be, by the 
confession even of Protestants, the first place of education in 
the island, as respected both science and moral discipline. This 
would be the most effectual and the least invidious method by 
which the Church of England could be humbled and the Church 
of Home exalted. 

The Earl of Ailesbury, one of the most devoted servants of 
the royal family, declared that, though a Protestant and by no 
means rich, he would himself contribute a thousand pounds 
towards this design, rather than that his master should violate 
the rights of property and break faith with the Established 
Church.* The scheme, however, found no favour in the sight 
of the King. It was indeed ill suited, in more ways than one, 
to his ungentle nature. For to bend and break the spirits of 
men gave him pleasure ; and to part with his money gave him 
pain. What he had not the generosity to do at his own ex- 
pense he determined to do at the expense of others. When 
once he was engaged, pride and obstinacy prevented him from 
recc ling ; and he was at length led, step by step, to acts of 
Turkish tyranny, to acts which impressed the nation with a con- 
viction that the estate of a Protestant English freeholder under 
a Roman Catholic King must be as insecure as that of a Greek 
under Moslem domination. 

Magdalene College at Oxford, founded in the fifteenth 

© © ' 

century by William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester and 
Lord Ilio-h Chancellor, was one of the most remarkable of our 
academical institutions. A graceful tower, on the summit of 
which a Latin hymn was annually chanted by choristers at the 

* Burnet, i. C97 ; Letters of Lord Ailesbury printed in tho European Ma^izino 
for April 1795. 


dawn of May day, caught far off the eye of the traveller who 
came from London. As he approached, he found that this 
tower rose from an embattled pile, low and irregular, yet singtu 
larly venerable, which, embowered in verdure, overhung the slug, 
gish waters of the Cherwell. He passed through a gateway 
beneath a noble oriel,* and found himself in a spacious cloister 
adorned with emblems of virtues and vices, rudely carved in 
grey stone by the masons of the fifteenth century. The table 
of the society was plentifully spread in a stately refectory hung 
with paintings and rich with fantastic carving. The service of 
the Church was performed morning and evening in a chapel 
which had suffered much violence from the reformers, and 
much from the Puritans, but which was, under every disadvan- 
tage, a building of eminent beauty, and which has. in our own 
time, been restored with rare taste and skill. The spacious 
gardens along the river side were remarkable for the size of the 
trees, among which towered conspicuous one of the vegetable 
wonders of the island, a gigantic oak, older by a century, men 
said, than the oldest college in the University. 

The statutes of the society ordained that the Kings of Eng- 
land and Princes of Wales should be lodged at Magdalene. 
Edward the Fourth had inhabited the building while it was 
still unfinished. Richard the Third had held his court there, 
had heard disputations in the hall, had feasted there royally, 
and had mended the cheer of his hosts by a present of fat 
bucks from his forests. Two heirs apparent of the crown who 
had been prematurely snatched away, Arthur, the elder brother 
of Henry the Eighth, and Henry, the elder brother of Charles 
the First, had been members of the college. Another prince of 
the blood, the last and best of the Roman Catholic Archbishops 
of Canterbury, the gentle Reginald Pole, had studied there. In 
the time of the civil war Magdalene had been true to the cause 
of the Crown. There Rupert had fixed his quarters ; and, be- 
fore some of his most daring enterprises, his trumpets had been 
heard sounding to horse through those quiet cloisters. Most of 
the Fellows were divines, and could aid King Charles only by 

* This gateway is now closed. 

2G2 nisTORY of England. 

their prayers and their pecuniary contributions. But one mem- 
ber of the body, a Doctor of Civil law, raised a troop of un- 
dergraduates, and fell fighting bravely at their head against the 
soldiers of Essex. When hostilities had terminated, and the 
Roundheads were masters of England, six sevenths of the mem- 
bers of the foundation refused to make any submission to usurp- 
ed authority. They were consequently ejected from their 
dwellings and deprived of their revenues. After the Restora- 
tion the survivors returned to their pleasant abode. They had 
now been succeeded by a new generation which inherited their 
opinions and their spirit. During the Western rebellion such 
Magdalene men as were not disqualified by their age or pro- 
fession for the use of arms had eagerly volunteered to fight for 
the Crown. It would be difficult to name any corporation in 
the kingdom which had higher claims to the gratitude of the 
House of Stuart.* 

The society consisted of a President, of forty Fellows, of 
thirty scholars called Demies, and of a train of chaplains, clerks 
and choristers. At the time of the general visitation in the 
reign of Henry the Eighth the revenues were far larger than those 
of any similar institution in the realm, larger by nearly one half 
than those of the magnificent foundation of Henry the Sixth at 
Cambridge, and considerably more than twice as large as those 
which William of Wykeham had settled on his college at Ox- 
ford. In the days of James the Second the riches of Magda- 
lene were immense, and were exaggerated by report. The 
college was popularly said to be wealthier than the wealthiest 
abbeys of the Continent. When the leases fell in, — so ran the 
vulgar rumour, — the rents would be raised to the prodigious 
sum of forty thousand pounds a year. 

The Fellows were, by the statutes which their founder had 
drawn up, empowered-to select their own President from among 
persons who were, or had been, Fellows either of their society 

* Wood's Athene Oxonienses ; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy. 

t Burnet, i. 697 ; Tanner's Xotitia Monastica. At the visitation in the twenty- 
Fix tli year of Henry the Eighth it appeared that the annual revenue of King's 
College was 7512 ; of New College, 487/ ; of Magdalene, 1076/. 


or of New College. This power had generally been exercised 
with freedom. But in some instances royal letters had been re- 
ceived recommending to the choice of the corporation qualified 
persons who were in favour at court ; and on such occasions it 
had been the practice to show respect to the. wishes of the sov- 

In March 1687, the President of the college died. One of 
the Fellows, Doctor Thomas Smith, popularly nicknamed Rabbi 
Smith, a distinguished traveller, book collector, antiquary, and 
orientalist, who had been chaplain to the embassy at Constanti- 
nople, and had been employed to collate the Alexandrian manu- 
script, aspired to the vacant post. He conceived that he had 
some claims on the favour of the government as a man of learn- 
ing and as a zealous Tory. His loyalty was in truth as fervent 
and as steadfast as was to be found in the whole Church of En^- 
land. He had long been intimately acquainted with Parker, 
Bishop of Oxford, and hoped to obtain by the interest of that 
prelate a royal letter to the college. Parker promised to do his 
best, but soon reported that he had found difficulties. " The 
King," he said, " will recommend no person who is not a friend 
to His Majesty's religion. What can you do to pleasure him as 
to that matter ? " Smith answered that, if he became President, 
he would exert himself to promote learning, true Christianity, 
and loyalty. " That will not do," said the Bishop. •* If so," 
said Smith manfully, "let who will be President : I can prom- 
ise nothing more." 

The election had been fixed for the thirteenth of April ; and 
the Fellows had been summoned to attend. It was rumoured 
that a royal letter would come down recommending one Antho- 
ny Farmer to the vacant place. This man's life had been a se- 
ries of shameful acts. He had been a member of the Universi- 
ty of Cambridge, and had escaped expulsion only by a timely 
retreat. He had then joined the Dissenters. Then he had gone 
to Oxford, had entered himself at Magdalene, and had soon be- 
come notorious there for every kind of vice. He generally 
reeled into his college at night speechless with liquor. He was 
celebrated for having headed a disgraceful riot at Abingdon. 


He had been a constant frequenter of noted haunts of libertines. 
At length he had turned pandar, had exceeded even the ordi- 
nary vileness of his vile calling, and had received money from dis- 
solute young gentlemen commoners for services such as it is not 
good that history should record. This wretch, however, had pre- 
tended to turn Papist. His apostasy atoned for all his vices ; and, 
though still a youth, he was selected to rule a grave and religious 
society in which the scandal given by his depravity was still 

As a Roman Catholic he was disqualified for academical of- 
fice by the general law of the land. Never having been a Fel- 
low of Magdalene College or of New College, he was disquali- 
fied for the vacant Presidency by a special ordinance of William 
of Waynliete. William of Waynfiete had also enjoined those 
who partook of his bounty to have a particular regard to moral 
character in choosing their head ; and," even if he had left no 
such injunction, a body chiefly composed of divines could not 
with decency entrust such a man as Farmer with the government 
of a place of education. 

'Kie Fellows respectfully represented to the King the dif- 
ficulty in which they should be placed, if, as was rumoured, Far- 
mer should be recommended to them, and begged that, if it 
were His Majesty's pleasure to interfere in the election, some 
person for whom they could legally and conscientiously vote 
might be proposed. Of this dutiful request no notice was taken. 
The royal letter arrived. It was brought down by one of the 
Fellows who had lately turned Papist, Robert Charnock, a man 
of parts and spirit, but of a violent and restless temper, which im- 
pelled him a few years later to an atrocious crime and to a terri- 
ble fate. On the thirteenth of April the society met in the 
chapel. Some hope was still entertained that the King might 
be moved by the remonstrance which had been addressed to him. 
The assembly therefore adjourned till the fifteenth, which was 
the last day on which, by the constitution of the college, the 
election could take place. 

The fifteenth of April came. Again the Fellows repaired to 
their chapel. No answer had arrived from Whitehall. Two 


or three of the Seniors, among whom was Smith, were inclined 
to postpone the election once more rather than take a step which 
might give offence to the King. But the language of the statutes 
was clear. Those statutes the members of the foundation had 
sworn to observe. The general opinion was that there ought to 
be no further delay. There was a hot debate. The electors 
were too much excited to take their seats ; and the whole choir 
was in a tumult. Those who were for proceeding appealed to 
their oaths and to the rules laid down by the founder whose 
bread they had eaten. The King, they truly said, had no right 
to force on them even a qualified candidate. Some expressions 
unpleasing to Tory ears were dropped in the course of the dis- 
pute; and Smith was provoked into exclaiming that the spirit 
of Ferguson had possessed his brethren. It was at length 
resolved by a great majority that it was necessary to proceed 
immediately to the election. Charnock left the chapel. The 
other Fellows, having first received the sacrament, proceeded to 
give their voices. The choice fell on John Hough, a man of 
eminent virtue and prudence, who, having borne persecution 
with fortitude and prosperity with meekness, having risen to 
high honours and having modestly declined honours higher still, 
died in extreme old age, yet in full vigour of mind, more than 
fifty-six years after this eventful day. 

The society hastened to acquaint the King with the circum- 
stances which had made it necessary to elect a President with- 
out further delay, and requested the Duke of Ormond, as patron 
of tho whole University, and the Bishop of Winchester, as 
visitor of Magdalene College, to undertake the office of inter- 
cessors : but the King was far too angry and too dull to listen 
to explanations. 

Early in June the Fellows were cited to appear before the 
High Commission at Whitehall. Five of them, deputed by the 
rest, obeyed the summons. Jeffreys treated them after his u^ual 
fashion. When one of them, a grave Doctor named Fairfax, 
hinted some doubt as to the validity of the Commission, the 
Chancellor began to roar like a wild beast. " Who is this man ? 
What commission has he to be impudent here ? Seize him. Put 


him into a dark room. What docs he do without a keeper ? He 
is under my care as a lunatic. I wonder that nobody has applied 
to me for the custody of him." But when this storm had spent 
its force, and the depositions concerning the moral character of 
the King's nominee had been read, none of the Commissioners 
had the front to pronounce that such a man could properly be 
made the head of a great college. Obadiah Walker and the other 
Oxonian Papists who were m attendance to support their pros- 
elyte were utterly confounded. The Commission pronounced 
Hough's election void, and suspended Fairfax from his fellow- 
ship : but about Farmer no more was said ; and, in the month 
of August, arrived a royal letter recommending Parker, Bishop 
of Oxford, to the Fellows- 
Parker was not an avowed Papist. Still there was an objec- 
tion to him which, even if the presidency had been vacant, would 
have been decisive : for he had never been a Fellow of either 
New College or Magdalene. But the presidency was not vacant : 
Hough had been duly elected ; and all the members of the col- 
lege were bound by oath to support him in his office. They there- 
fore, with many expressions of loyalty and concern, excused 
themselves from complying with the King's mandate. 

While Oxford was thus opposing a firm resistance to tyranny, 
a stand not less resolute was made in another quarter. James 
had, some time before, commanded the trustees of the Charter- 
house, men of the first rank and consideration in the kingdom, 
to admit a Roman Catholic named Popham into the hospital 
which was under their care. The Master of the house, Thomas 
Burnet, a clergyman of distinguished genius, learning, and 
virtue, had the courage to represent to them, though the ferocious 
Jeffreys sate at the board, that what was required of them was 
contrary both to the will of the founder and to an Act of Parlia- 
ment. "What is that to the purpose?" said a courtier who 
was one of the governors. " It is very much to the purpose, I 
think," answered a voice, feeble witli age and sorrow, yet not 
to be heard without respect by any assembly, the voice of the 
venerable Onnond. "An Act of Parliament," continued the 
patriarch of the Cavalier party, "is, in my judgment, no light 


thing." The question was put whether Popham should be 
admitted ; and it was determined to reject him. The Chancellor, 
who could not well ease himself by cursing and swearing at 
Ormond, flung away m a rage, and was followed by some of the 
minority. The consequence was, that there was not a quorum 
left, and that no formal reply could be made to the royal man- 

The next meeting took place only two days after the High 
Commission had pronounced sentence of deprivation against 
Hough, and of suspension against Fairfax. A second mandate 
under the Great Seal was laid before the trustees : but the 
tyrannical manner in which Mad^alene College had been treated 
had roused instead of subduing their spirit. They drew up a 
letter to Sunderland in which they requested him to inform the 
King that they could not, in this matter, obey His Majesty with- 
out breaking the law and betraying their trust. 

There can be little doubt that, had ordinary signatures been 
appended to this document, the King would have taken some vio- 
lent course. But even he was daunted by the opposition of Or- 
mond, Halifax, Danby, and Nottingham, the chiefs of all the 
sections of that great party to which he owed his crown. He 
therefore contented himself with directing Jeffreys to consider 
what course onijht to be taken. It was announced at one time 
that a proceeding would be instituted in the King's Bench, at 
another that the Ecclesiastical Commission would take up the 
case : but these threats gradually died away. # 

The summer was now far advanced ; and the King set out 
on a progress, the longest and the most splendid that had been 
known during many years. From Windsor he went on the six- 
teenth of August to Portsmouth, walked round the fortifications, 
touched some scrofulous people, and then proceeded in one of his 
yachts to Southampton. From Southampton he travelled to Bath, 
where he remained a few days, and where he left the Queen. 
When he departed, he was attended by the High Sheriff of Som- 
ersetshire and by a large body of gentlemen to the frontier of 
the county, where the IIi«h Sheriff of Gloucestershire, with a 

* A Relation of the Proceedings at the Charterhouse, 1G89. 


not less splendid retinae, was in attendance. The Duke of Beau- 
fort soon met the royal coaches, and conducted them to Badmin- 
ton, where a banquet worthy of the fame which his splendid 
housekeeping had won for him was prepared. In the afternoon 
the cavalcade proceeded to Gloucester. It was greeted two 
miles from the city by the Bishop and clergy. At the South 
Gate the Mayor waited with the keys. The bells rang and the 
conduits flowed with wine as the Ki:;g passed through the streets 
to the close which encircles the venerable Cathedral. He lay 
that night at the deanery, and on the following morning set out 
for "Worcester. From Worcester he went to Ludlow, Shrews- 
bury, and Chester, and was everywhere received with outward 
signs of joy and respect, which he was weak enough to consider 
as proofs that the discontent excited by his measures had subsi- 
ded, and that an easy victory was before him. Barillon, more 
sagacious, informed Louis that the King of England was under 
a delusion, that the progress had done no real good, and that 
those very gentlemen of Worcestershire and Shropshire who had 
thought it their duty to receive their Sovereign and their guest 
with every mark of honour would be found as refractory as ever 
when the question of the test should come on. # 

On the road the royal train was joined by two courtiers who 
in temper and opinions differed widely from each other. Penn 
was at Chester on a pastoral, or, to speak more correctly, on a 
political tour. The chief object of his expedition was to induce 
the Dissenters, throughout England, to support the government. 
His popularity and authority among his brethren had greatly de- 
clined since he had become a tool of the King and of the Jes- 
uits.f He was, however, most graciously received by James, 

* See the London Gazette, from August 18, to September 1, 1GS7 ; Barillon, 
September 10-29. 

t ' Penn, chef des Quikers, qu'on sait etre dans les intercts du L.oi d' Angle- 
terre, est si fort decrie parmi ceux de son parti qu'ils n'ont plus aucune confiance 
en lui." — Conrepaux to Seignclay, Sept. 12-22, 1687. The evidence of Gerard 
Croese is to tbe same effect. " Etiam Quakeri Pennum non amplius, ut ante, ita 
amabaut ac magnifaciebant, quidam aversabantur ac fngiebant." — I listeria 
Quakeriana, lib. ii. 1685. As to Perm's tour, Van Cittors wrote on Oct. 4-M, 
lfiST, •' Dat den bekenden Arch-Quaker Pen door bet Laut op reyse was, < m die 
•van sync gesintlieyt, en andcre too veel doenlyck, tot des Conings partie en 
Sinnclyckheyt te winnen." 


and, on the Sunday, was permitted to harangue in the tennis 
court, while Cartwriglit preached in the Cathedral, and while 
the Kino - heard mass at an altar which had been decked in the 
Shire Hall. It is said, indeed, that His Majesty deigned to look 
into the tennis court and to listen with decency to his friend's 
melodious eloquence.* 

The furious Tyrconnel had crossed the serf from Dublin to 
give an account of his administration. All the most respectable 
English Roman Catholics looked coldly on him as an enemy of 
their race and a scandal to their religion. But he was cordially 
welcomed by his master, and dismissed with assurances of un- 
diminished confidence and steady support. James expressed his 
delight at learning that in a short time the whole government of 
Ireland would be in Roman Catholic hands. The English col- 
onists had already been stripped of all political power. Nothing 
remained but to strip them of their property ; and this last out- 
rage was deferred only till the co-operation of an Irish Parlia- 
ment should have been secured. f 

From Cheshire the King turned southward, and, in the full 
belief that the Fellows of Magdalene College, however muti 
nous they might be, would not dare to disobey a command uttered 
by his own lips, directed his course towards Oxford. By the 
way he made some little excursions to places which peculiarly 
interested him as a King, a brother, and a son. He visited the 
hospitable roof of Boscobel, and the remains of the oak so con- 
spicuous in the history of his house. He rode over the field of 
Edgehill, where the Cavaliers first crossed swords with the sol- 
diers of the Parliament. On the third of September he dined in 
great state at the palace of Woodstock, an ancient and renowned 
mansion, of which not a stone is now to be seen, but of which 
the site is still marked on the turf of Blenheim Park by two 

* Cartwright's Diary, Aug. 30, 1C87 ; Clarkson's Life of William Penn. 

t London Gazette, Sept. 5; Sheridan MS. ; Barillon, Sept. 0-16, 1G87. "Le 
Roi son maitre," says Barillon, " a t^moigne une grande satisfaction des mesures 
qu'il a prises, et a autorise ce qu'il a fait en faveur des Catholiques. II les 
etablit dans les emplois et les charges, en sorte que Pautorite se trouvera bientot 
entre leurs mains. II reste encore beaucoup de choses a faire en ce pays la pour 
retirer les biens injustement otes aux Catholiques. Mais eela ne peut s'executer 
qu'avec le terns et daus l'asseniblee d'un parlement en Irlande." 


sycamores which grow near the stately bridge. In the evening 
he reached Oxford. He was received there with the wonted 
honours. The students in their academical garb were ranged to 
welcome him on the right hand and on the left, from the entrance 
of the city to the great gate of Christ Church. He lodged at 
the deanery, where, among other accommodations, he found a 
chapel fitted up for the celebration of the mass.* On the day 
after his arrival, the Fellows of Magdalene College were ordered 
to attend him. When they appeared, before him, he treated them 
with an insolence such as had never been shown to their prede- 
cessors by the Puritan visitors. " You have not dealt with me 
like gentlemen," he exclaimed. " You have been unmannerly 
as well as undutiful." They fell on their knees and tendered a 
petition. He would not look at it. " Is this your Church of 
England loyalty ? I could not have believed that so many cler- 
gymen of the Church of England would have been concerned in 
such a business. Go home. Get you gone. I am King. I 
will be obeyed. Go to your chapel this instant ; and admit 
the Bishop of Oxford. Let those who refuse look to it. They 
shall feel the whole weight of my hand. They shall know what 
it is to incur the displeasure of their Sovereign." The Fellows, 
&till kneeling before him, again offered him their petition. He 
angrily flung it down. ft Get you gone, I tell you. I will 
receive nothing from you till you have admitted the Bishop." 

They retired and instantly assembled in their chapel. The 
question was propounded whether they would comply with His 
Majesty's command. Smith was absent. Charnock alone an- 
swered in the affirmative. The other Fellows who were at the 
meeting declared that in all things lawful they were ready to 
obey the King, but that they would not violate their statutes 
and their oaths. 

The King, greatly incensed and mortified by his defeat, 
quitted Oxford and rejoined the Queen at Bath. His obstinacy 
and violence had brought him into an embarrassing position. 
He had trusted too much to the effect of his frowns and angry 
jones, and had rashly staked, not merely the credit of his ad- 

"London Gazette of Sept. 5 ? and Sept. 8, 1C87. 


ministration, but his personal dignity, on the issue of the contest. 
Could he yield to subjects whom lie had menaced with raised 
voice and furious gestures ? Yet could he venture to eject in 
one day a crowd of respectable clergymen from their homes, 
because they had discharged what the whole nation regarded as a 
sacred duty? Perhaps there might be an escape from this 
dilemma. Perhaps the college might still be terrified, caressed, or 
bribed into submission. The agency of Penn was employed. He 
had too much good feeling to approve of the violent and unjust 
proceedings of the government, and even ventured to express 
part of what he thought. James was, as usual, obstinate in the 
wrong. The courtly Quaker, therefore, did his best to seduce 
the college from the path of right. He first tried intimidation. 
Ruin, he said, impended over the society. The King was highly 
incensed. The case might be a hard one. Most people thought 
it so. But every child knew that His Majesty loved to have 
his own way and could not bear to be thwarted. Penn, there- 
fore, exhorted the Fellows not to rely on the goodness of their 
cause, but to submit, or at least to temporise.* Such counsel 

* See Peim's Letter to Bailey, one of the Fellows of the College, in the Im- 
partial P elation printed at Oxford in IC88. It has lately been asserted that Penn 
most certainly did not write this letter. Now, the evidence which proves the 
letter to be his is irresistible- Bailey, to whom the letter was addressed, ascribed 
it to Penn, and sent an answer to Penn. In a very short time both the letter and 
the answer appeared in print. Many thousands of copies were circulated. Penn 
was pointed out to the whole world as the author of the letter ; and it is not pre- 
tended that he met this public accusation with a public contradiction. Every- 
body therefore believed, and was perfectly warranted in believing, that he was 
the author. The letter was repeatedly quoted as his, during his own lifetime, 
not merely in fugitive pamphlets, such as the History of the Ecclesiastical Com- 
mission, published in 1711, but in grave and elaborate books which were meant 
to descend to posterity. Boyer, in his History of William the Third, printed 
immediately after that King's death, and reprinted in 1703, pronounced the letter 
to be Perm's, and added some severe reflections on the writer. Kennet, in the 
bulky History of England published in 1706, a history which had a large sale and 
produced a great sensation, adopted the very words of Boyer. When these 
works appeared, Penn was not only alive, but in the full enjoyment of his fac- 
ulties. He cannot have been ignorant of the charge brought against him by 
writers of so much note ; and it was not his practice to hold his peace when 
unjust charges were brought against him even by obscure scribblers. In 1G95, a 
pamphlet on the Exclusion Bill was falsely imputed to him in an anonymous 
libel. Contemptible as was the quarter from which the calumny proceeded, he 
hastened to vindicate himself. His denial, distinct, solemn, and indignant, 
speedily came forth in print. Is it possible to doubt that he would, if he could, 
have confounded Boyer and Kennet by a similar denial ? He however silently 


came strangely from one who had himself been expelled from 
the University for raising a riot about the surplice, who had run 
the risk of being disinherited rather than take off his hat to the 
princes of the blood, and who had been more than once sent to 
prison for haranguing in conventicles. lie did not succeed in 
frightening the Magdalene men. In answer to his alarming 
hints he was reminded that in the last generation thirty-four 
out of the forty Fellows had cheerfully left their beloved clois- 
ters and gardens, their hall and their chapel, and had gone 
forth not knowing where they should find a meal or a bed rather 
than violate the oath of allegiance. The King now wished them to 
violate another oath. He should find that the old spirit was not 

Then Penn tried a gentler tone. lie had an interview with 
Hough and with some of the Fellows, and, after many profes- 
sions of syinpatl y and friendship, began to hint at a compromise. 
The King could not bear to be crossed. The college must give 
way. Parker must be admitted. But he w T as in very bad health. 
All his preferments would soon be vacant. •■ Doctor Hough," 
said Penn, '• may then be Bishop of Oxford. How should you 
like that, gentlemen?"* Penn had passed his life in declaiming 

suffered them to tell the whole nation, during many years, that this letter was 
written by " William Penn the head of the Quakers, or, as some then thought, an 
ambitious, crafty Jesuit, who under a phanatieal outside, prompted King 
James's designs." He died without attempting to clear himself. In the year of 
his death appeared Eachard's huge volume, containing the History of England 
from the restoration to the Revolution ; and Eaehard, though often differing 
with Boyer and Kennet, agreed with them in unhesitatingly ascribing the letter 
to Penn. 

Such is the evidence on one side. I am not aware that any evidence deserving 
a serious answer has been produced on the other. (1857.) 

* Here again I have been accused of calumniating Penn ; and some show of a 
case has been made out by suppression amounting to falsification. It is asserted 
that Penn did not " begin to hint at a compromise ; " and in proof of this asser- 
tion, a few words, quoted from the letter in which Hough gives an account of the- 
interview, are printed in italics. These words arc, " I thank Clod, he did not 
offer any proposal by way of accommodation." These words, taken by them- 
selves, undoubtedly seem to prove that Penn did not begin to hint at a compro- 
mise. But their effect is very different indeed when they are read in connection 
with words which immediately follow, without the intervention of a full stop, 
but which have been carefully suppressed. The whole sentence runs thus: "I 
thank Rod, lie did not offer any proposal by way of accommodation ; only once, 
upon the mention of the Bishop of Oxford's indisposition, he said, smiling, 'If 
the Bishop of Oxford die, Dr. Hough may bo made Bishop. What think you of 



against a hireling ministry. He held that he was bound to refuse 
the payment of tithes, and this even when he had bought land 
chargeable with tithes and had been allowed the value of the 
tithes in the purchase money. According to his own principles 
he would have committed a great sin if he had interfered for the 
purpose of obtaining a benefice on the most honourable terms for 
the most pious divine. Yet to such a degree had his manners 
been corrupted by evil communications, and his understanding 
obscured by inordinate zeal for a single object, that he did not 
scruple to become a broker in simony of a peculiarly discreditable 
kind, and to use a bishopric as a bait to tempt a divine to perjury. 
Hough replied with civil contempt that he wanted nothing from 
the Crown but common justice. "We stand," he said, "on 
our statutes and our oaths ; but even setting aside our statutes 
and oaths, we feel that we have our religion to defend. The 
Papists have robbed us of University College. They have rob- 
bed us of Christ Church. The fi^ht is now for Magdalene. 
They will soon have all the rest." 

Penn was foolish enough to answer that he really believed that 
the Papists would now be content. " University," he said, " is a 
pleasant college. Christ Church is a noble place. Magdalene 
is a line building. The situation is convenient. The walks by 
the river are delightful. If the Roman Catholics are reasonable 
they will be satisfied with these." This absurd avowal would 
alone have made it impossible for Hough and his brethren to 
yield.* The negotiation was broken off ; and the King hastened 

that, gentlemen?" Can anything be clearer than that the latter part of the 
sentence limits the general assertion contained in the former part ? Everybody 
knows that only is perpetually used as synonymous with except that. Instances 
will readily occur to all who are well acquainted with the English Bible, a book 
from the authority of which there is no appeal when the question is about the 
force of an English word. We read in the Book of Genesis, to go no further, 
that every living thing was destroyed ; and Noah only remained, and they that 
were with him in the ark ; and that Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for 
Pharaoh ; only the land of the priests bought he not. The defenders of Penn 
reason exactly like a commentator who should construe these passages to mean 
that Noah was drowned In the flood, and that Joseph bought the land of the 
priests for Pharaoh. (1857.) 

* I will give one other specimen of the arts which are thought legitimate 
where the fame of Penn is concerned. To vindicate the language which he held 
on this occasion, if we suppose him to have meant what he said, is plainly impos- 

Vol. II.— 18. 


to make the disobedient know, as he hud threatened, what it was 
to incur his displeasure. 

A special commission was directed to Cartwright, Bishop of 
Chester, to Wright, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, and to 
Sir Thomas Jenner, a Baron of the Exchequer, appointing them 
to exercise visitatorial jurisdiction over the college. On the 
twentieth of October they arrived at Oxford, escorted by three 
troops of cavalry with drawn swords. On the iollowing morn- 
ing the Commissioners took their seats in the hall of Magdalene. 
Cartwright pronounced a loyal oration, which, a few years be- 
fore, would have called forth the acclamations of an Oxonian 
audience, but which was now heard with sullen indignation. A 
long dispute followed. The president defended his rights with 
skill, temper, and resolution. He professed great respect for 
the royal authority : but he steadily maintained that he had by 
the laws of England a freehold interest in the house and rev- 
enues annexed to the Presidency. Of that interest he could 
not be deprived by an arbitrary mandate of the Sovereign. 
" Yv r ill you submit," said the Bishop, "to our visitation?" " I 
submit to it," said Hough with great dexterity, " so far as it is 
consistent with the laws, and no further." M Will you deliver 
up the key of your lodgings ? " said Cartwright. Hough re- 
mained silent. The question was repeated ; and Hough returned 
a mild but resolute refusal. The Commissioners pronounced 
him an intruder, and charged the fellows to assist at the ad- 
mission of the Bishop of Oxford. Charnock eagerly promised 
obedience : Smith returned an evasive answer : but the great 
body of the members of the college firmly declared that they still 
regarded Houdi as their rightful head. 

sible. We are therefore told that he was in a merry mood ; that his benevolent 
heart was so much exhilarated by the sight of several pious and learned men 
who were about to be reduced to beggary for observing their oaths and adhering 
to their religion, that he could not help joking ; and that it would be most unjust 
to treat his charming facetiousness as a crime. In order to make out this de- 
fenee,— a poor defence even if made out,— the following words are quoted, an 
part of Hough's letter, " He had a mind to droll upon U8." This is given as l 
positive assertion made by Hough. The context is carefully suppressed. My 
readers will. I believe, be surprised when they learn that Hough's words really 
are tfcese: "When I heard him talk at this rate, 1 concluded he was cither oil 
his guard, 07 had a mind to droll upon us." 


And now Hough himself craved permission to address a few 
words to the Commissioners. They consented with much civili- 
ty, perhaps expecting from the calmness and suavity of his man- 
ner that he would make some concession. " My Lords," said 
he, " you have this day deprived me of my freehold : I hereby 
protest against all your proceedings as illegal, unjust, and null ; 
and I appeal from you to our Sovereign Lord the King in his 
courts of justice." A loud murmur of applause arose from the 
gownsmen who filled the hall. The Commissioners were fu- 
rious. Search was made for the offenders, but in vain. Then 
the rasre of the whole board was turned against Hough. ft Do 
not think to huff us, sir," cried Jenner, punning on the President's 
name. " I will uphold His Majesty's authority" said Wright, 
" while I have breath in my body. All this comes of your popular 
protest. You have broken the peace. You shall answer it in 
the King's Bench. I bind you over in one thousand pounds to 
appear there next term. I will see whether the civil power can- 
not manage you. If that is not enough, you shall have the mili- 
tary too." In truth Oxford was in a state which made the Com- 
missioners not a little uneasy. The soldiers were ordered to 
have their carbines loaded. It was said that an express was 
sent to London for the purpose of hastening the arrival of more 
troops. No disturbance however took place. The Bishop of 
Oxford was quietly installed by proxy : but only two members 
of Magdalene College attended the ceremony. Many signs 
showed that the spirit of resistance had spread to the common 
people. The porter of the college threw down his keys. The but- 
ler refused to scratch Hough's name out of the buttery book, and 
was instantly dismissed. No blacksmith could be found in the 
whole city who would force the lock of the President's lodgingp. 
It was necessary for the Commissioners to employ their own ser- 
vants who broke open the door with iron bars. The sermons 
which on the following Sunday were preached in the University 
Church were full of reflections such as stung Cart-wright to the 
quick, though such as he could not discreetly resent. 

And here, if James had not been infatuated, the matter 
might have stopped. The Fellows in general were not in. 


clined to carry their resistance further. They were of opinion 
that, by refusing to assist in the admission of the intruder, 
they had sufficiently proved their respect for their statutes and 
oaths, and that, since he was now in actual possession, they 
might justifiably submit to him as their head, till he should be 
removed by sentence of a competent court. Only one Fellow, 
Doctor Fairfax, refused to yield even to this extent. The Com- 
missioners would gladly have compromised the dispute on these 
terms ; and during a few hours there was a truce which many 
thought likely to end in an amicable arrangement : but soon all 
was again in confusion. The Fellows found that the popular 
voice loudl}' accused them of pusillanimity. The townsmen al- 
ready talked ironically of a Magdalene conscience, and ex- 
claimed that the brave Hough and the honest Fairfax had been 
betrayed and abandoned. Still more annoying were the sneers of 
Obadiah Walker and his brother renegades. This then, said 
those apostates, was the end of all the big words in which the 
society had declared itself resolved to stand by its lawful Pres- 
ident and by its Protestant faith. While the Fellows, bitterly 
annoyed by the public censure, were regretting the modified 
submission which they had consented to make, they learned 
that this submission was by no means satisfactory to the King. 
It was not enough, he said, that they offered to obey the Bishop 
of Oxford as President in fact. They must distinctly admit the 
Commission and all that had been done under it to be le<*al : 
they must acknowledge that they had acted undutifully : they 
must declare themselves penitent : they must promise to behave 
better in future, must implore His Majesty's pardon, and must 
lay themselves at his feet. Two Fellows, of whom the King 
had no complaint to make, Charnock and Smith, were excused 
from the obligation of making these degrading apologies. 

Even James never committed a grosser error. The Fel- 
lows, already angry with themselves for having conceded so 
much, and galled by the censure of the world, eagerly caught 
at the opportunity which was now offered them of regaining the 
public esteem. With one voice they declared that they would 
never ask pardon for being in the right, or admit that the visita- 


tion of their college and the deprivation of their President had 
been legal. 

Then the King, as he had threatened, laid on them the 
whole weight of his hand. They were by one sweeping edict 
condemned to expulsion. Yet this punishment was not deemed 
sufficient. It was known that many noblemen and gentlemen 
who possessed church patronage would be disposed to provide 
for men who had suffered so much for the laws of England and 
for the Protestant religion. The High Commission therefore 
pronounced the ejected Fellows incapable of ever holding any 
ecclesiastical preferment. Such of them as were not yet in 
holy orders were pronounced incapable of receiving the clerical 
character. James might enjoy the thought that he had reduced 
many of them from a situation in which they were surrounded 
by comforts, and had before them the fairest professional pros- 
pects, to hopeless indigence. 

But all these severities produced an effect directly the op- 
posite of that which he had anticipated. The spirit of English- 
men, that sturdy spirit which no King of the House of Stuart 
could ever be taught by experience to understand, swelled up 
high and strong against injustice. Oxford, the quiet seat of 
learning and loyalty, was in a state resembling that of the City 
of London on the morning after the attempt of Charles the 
First to seize the five members. The Vicechancellor had been 
asked to dine with the Commissioners on the day of the expul- 
sion. He refused. •' My taste," he said, "differs from that of 
Colonel Kirke. I cannot eat my meals with appetite under a 
gallows." The scholars refused to pull off their caps to the 
new rulers of Magdalene College. Smith was nicknamed Doc 
tor Roguery, and was publicly insulted in a coffeehouse. When 
Charnock summoned the Demies to perform their academical 
exercises before him, they answered that they were deprived of 
their lawful governors and would submit to no usurped authority. 
They assembled apart both for study and for divine service. 
Attempts were made to corrupt them by offers of the lucrative 
fellowships which had just been declared vacant : but one un- 
dergraduate after another manfully answered that his conscience 


would not suffer him to profit by injustice. One lad who was 
induced to take a fellowship was turned out of the hall by the 
rest. Youths were invited from other colleges, but with small 
success. The richest foundation in the kingdom seemed to have 
lost all attractions for needy students. Meanwhile, in London 
and all over the country, money was collected for the support 
of the ejected Fellows. The Princess of Orange, to the great 
joy of all Protestants, subscribed two hundred pounds. Still, 
however, the King held on his course. The expulsion of the 
Fellows was soon followed by the expulsion of a crowd of 
Demies. All this time the new President w r as fast sinking un- 
der bodily and mental disease. lie had made a last feeble 
effort to serve the government by publishing, at the very time 
when the college was in a state of open rebellion against his 
authority, a defence of the Declaration of Indulgence, or rather 
a defence of the doctrine of transubstantiation. This piece 
called forth many answers, and particularly one from Burnet, 
written with extraordinary vigour and acrimony. A few weeks 
after the expulsion of the Demies, Parker died in the house of 
which he had violently taken possession. Men said that his 
heart was broken by remorse and shame. lie lies in the beauti- 
ful antechapel of the college : but no monument marks his 

Then the King's plan was carried into full effect. The 
college was turned into a Popish seminary. Bonaventure Gif- 
fard, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Madura, was appointed 
President. The Roman Catholic service was performed in the 
chapel. In one day twelve Roman Catholics were admitted 
Fellows. Some servile Protestants applied for fellowships, but 
met with refusals. Smith, an enthusiast in loyalty, but still a 
sincere member of the Anglican Church, could not bear to see 
the altered aspect of the house. Ho absented himself: he 
was ordered to return into residence : he disobeyed : he was 
expelled; and the work of spoliation was complete.* 

* Proceedings against Magdalene College, in Oxon., for not electing Anthony 
Farmer president of the said College, in the Collection of State Trials ; Luttrell'a 

Diary, June 15, 17, OcL 21, Dee. 10, 1G67 ; Smith's Narrativo ; Letter of Dr. Kich- 


The nature of the academical system of England is such that 
no event which seriously affects the interests and honour of 
either University can fail to excite a strong feeling through- 
out the country. Every successive blow, therefore, which fell 
on Magdalene College, was felt to the extremities of the king- 
dom. In the coffeehouses of London, in the Inns of Court, in 
the closes of all the Cathedral towns, in parsonages and manor- 
houses scattered over the remotest shires, pity for the suilerers 
and indignation against the government went on growing. The 
protest of Hough was everywhere applauded : the forcing of his 
door was everywhere mentioned with abhorrence ; and at length 
the sentence of deprivation fulminated against the Fellows dis- 
solved those ties, once so close and dear, which had bound the 
Church of England to the House of Stuart. Bitter resentment 
and cruel apprehension took the place of love and confidence. 
There was no prebendary, no rector, no vicar, whose mind was 
not haunted by the thought that, however quiet his temper, how- 
ever obscure his situation, he might, in a few months, be driven 
from his dwelling by an arbitrary edict to begin a ragged cassock 
with his wife and children, while his freehold, secured to him by 
laws of immemorial antiquity and by the royal word, was occupied 
by some apostate. This then was the reward of that heroic loyalty 
never once found wanting through the vicissitudes of fifty tem- 
pestuous years. It was for this that the clergy had endured spolia 
tion and persecution in the cause of Charles the First. It was for 
this that they had supported Charles the Second in his hard 
contest with the "Whig opposition. It was for this that they 
had stood in the front of the battle against those who sought to 
despoil James of his birthright. To their fidelity alone their 
oppressor owed the power which he was now employing to 
their ruin. They had long been in the habit of recounting 
in acrimonious language all that they had suffered at the 
hand of the Puritan in the day of his power. Yet for the 
Puritan there was some excuse. He was an avowed enemy : 
he had wrongs to avenge : and even he, while remodelling the 

ard Rawlinson, dated Oct. 31, 1087 ; Reresby's Memoirs ; Burnet, i. 693 ; Cart- 
wright's Diary ; Van Citters, ^fj^0ct2*_ Xoy g _ : 18 _ 2g lcg7> 


ecclesiastical constitution of the country, and ejecting all who 
would not subscribe to his Covenant, had not been altogether 
without compassion. He had at least granted to those whose 
benefices he seized a pittance sufficient to support life. But the 
hatred felt by the King towards that Church which had saved 
him from exile and placed him on the throne was not to be bo 
easily satiated. Nothing but the utter ruin of his victims would 
content him. It was not enough that they were expelled from 
their homes and stripped of their revenues. They found every 
walk of life towards which men of their habits could look for a 
subsistence closed against them with malignant care, and notl.inir 

o o o 

left to them but the precarious and degrading resource of 

The Anglican clerg} 7 , therefore, and that portion of the laity 
which w r as strongly attached to Protestant episcopacy, now re- 
garded the King with those feelings which injustice aggravated 
by ingratitude naturally excites. Yet had the Churchman 
still many scruples of conscience and honour to surmount be- 
fore he could bring himself to oppose the government by force. 
He had been taught that passive obedience was enjoined without 
restriction or exception by the divine law. lie had professed 
this opinion ostentatiously. lie had treated with contempt the 
suggestion that an extreme case might possibly arise which 
would justify a people in drawing the sword against regal 
tyranny. Both principle and shame therefore restrained him from 
imitating the example of the rebellious Roundheads, while any 
hope of a peaceful and legal deliverance remained ; and such a 
hope might reasonably be cherished as long as the Princess of 
Orange stood next in succession to the crown. If he would 
but endure with patience this trial of his faith, the laws of 
nature would soon do for him what he could not, without sin 
and dishonour, do for himself. The wronjrs of the Church 
would be redressed : her property and dignity would be fenced 
by new guarantees ; and those wicked courtiers who had, in the 
day of her adversity, injured and insulted her, would be signally 

The event to which the Church of England looked forward 


as an honourable and peaceful termination of her troubles was 
one of which even the most reckless members of the Jesuitical 
cabal could not think without painful apprehensions. If their 
master should die, leaving them no better security against the 
penal laws than a Declaration which the general voice of the 
nation pronounced to be a nullity, if a Parliament, animated by 
the same spirit which had prevailed in the Parliaments of Charles 
the Second, should assemble round the throne of a Protestant 
sovereign, was it not probable that a terrible retribution would 
be exacted, that the old laws against Popery would be rigidly 
enforced, and that new laws still more severe would be added to 
the statute book ? The evil counsellors had long been tormented 
by these gloomy apprehensions, and some of them had contem- 
plated strange and desperate remedies. James had scarcely 
mounted the throne when it began to be whispered about "White- 
hall that, if the Lady Anne would turn Roman Catholic, it might 
not be impossible, with the help of Lewis, to transfer to her the 
birthright of her elder sister. At the French embassy this 
scheme was warmly approved, and Bonrepaux gave it as his 
opinion that the assent of James would be easily obtained.* 
Soon, however, it became manifest that Anne was unalterably 
attached to the Established Church. All thought of making her 
Queen was therefore relincmished. Nevertheless, a small knot 
of fanatics still continued to cherish a wild hope that they might 
be able to change the order of succession. The plan formed by 
these men was set forth in a minute of which a rude French 
translation has been preserved. It was to be hoped, they said, 
that the Kins: miidit be able to establish the true faith without 
resorting to extremities ; but in the worst event, he might leave 
his crown at the disposal of Lewis. It was better for English- 
men to be the vassals of France than the slaves of the Devil. f 

* '• Quand on connoit la dedans de cetto cour aussi intimement que je la con- 
nois, on peut croire que sa Majeste Britannique donnera volontiers dans ces 
Bortes de projets." — Bonrepaux to Seignelay, March 18-28, 1G8G. 

t " Que, quand pour etablir la religion Catholique et pour la confirmer icy, 
il (James) devroit se rendro en quelque facjon dependant de la France, et mettre 
la decision de la succession a la couronne entre les mains de ce monarque la, qvt'il 
eeroit oblige do le faire, parcequ'il vaudroit mieux pour pes sujets qu'ils devins-« 
eent vassaux du Roy de France, etant Catholiques, que de demcurer comme es. 
claves du Diable." This paper i3 in the archives of both France and Holland, 


This extraordinary document was handed about from Jesuit to 
Jesuit, and from courtier to courtier, till some eminent Roman 
Catholics, in whom bigotry had not extinguished patriotism, 
furnished the Dutch ambassador with a copy. He put the paper 
into the hands of James. James, greatly agitated, pronounced 
it a vile forgery contrived by some pamphleteer in Holland. The 
Dutch minister resolutely answered that he could prove the 
contrary by the testimony of several distinguished members of 
His Majesty's own Church, nay, that there would be no difficulty 
in pointing out the writer, who, after all, had written only what 
many priests and many busy politicians said every day in the 
galleries of the palace. The King did not think it expedient to 
ask who the writer was, but, abandoning the charge of forgery, 
protested, with great vehemence and solemnity, that no thought 
of disinheriting his eldest daughter had ever crossed his mind. 
" Nobody," he said, " ever dared to hint such a thing to me. I 
never would listen to it. God does not command us to propa- 
gate the true religion by injustice, and this would be the foulest, 
the most unnatural injustice." * Notwithstanding all these 
professions, Barillon, a few days later, reported to his court 
that James had begun to listen to suggestions respecting a 
change in the order of succession, that the question was doubt- 
less a delicate one, but that there was reason to hope that, with 
time and management, a way might be found to settle the crown 
on some Roman Catholic, to the exclusion of the two Princesses. f 
During many months this subject continued to be discussed by 
the fiercest and most extravagant Papists about the court, and 
candidates for the regal office were actually named. £ 

It is not probable however that James ever meant to take a 
course so insane. He must have known that England would 
never bear for a single day the yoke of an usurper who was 
also a Papist, and that any attempt to set aside the Lady Mary 

* Van Citters, Aug. 6-16, 17-27, 1686 ; Barillon, Aug. 9-10. 

t Barillon, Sept. 13-23, 16S6. "La succession est one matiere fort delicate & 
traiter. Je sais pourtant qu'on en parlo an Hoy d' Angleterrc, et qu'on ne cteses- 
pere pas avec le temps do trouver dc3 inoyens pour faire passer la couronne sur 
la teto d'un beriticr Catholiquc." 

% Bonrepaux, July 11-21, 16S7. 


would have been withstood to the death, both by all those who 
had supported the Exclusion Bill, and by all those who had 
opposed it. There is, however, no doubt that the King was an 
accomplice in a plot less absurd, but not less unjustifiable, 
against the rights of his children. Tyrconnel had, with his 
master's approbation, made arrangements for separating Ireland 
from the empire, and for placing her under the protection of 
Lewis, as soon as the crown should devolve on a Protestant 
sovereign. Bonrepaux had been consulted, had imparted the 
design to his court, and had been instructed to assure Tyrconnel 
that France would lend effectual aid to the accomplishment of 
this great project. $ These transactions, which, though perhaps 
not in all parts accurately known at the Hague, were strongly 
suspected there, must not be left out of the account if we would 
pass a just judgment on the course taken a few months later by 
the Princess of Orange. Those who pronounce her guilty of a 
breach of filial duty must admit that her fault was at least 
greatly extenuated by her wrongs. If, to serve the cause 
of her religion, she broke through the most sacred ties of con- 
sanguinity, she only followed her father's example. She did 
not assist to depose him until he had conspired to disinherit 

Scarcely had Bonrepaux been informed that Lewis had re- 
solved to assist the enterprise of Tyrconnel when all thoughts 
of that enterprise were abandoned. James had caught the first 
glimpse of a hope which delighted and elated him. The Queen 
was with child. 

Before the end of October 1687 the great news began to be 
whispered. It was observed that Her Majesty had absented 

* Bonrepaux to Seignelay, i n *^ 1687. I will quote a few words from this 

Sept. 4, 

most remarkable despatch : " Je scay bien certainement que l'intention du Roy 
d'Angleterre est de faire perdrc ce royaume (Ireland) a son suecesseur, et de le 
fortifier en sorte que tous ses sujets Catholiques y puissent avoir un asile assure. 
Son projet est de mettre les choses en cet estat dans le cours de cinq annees." In 
the Secret Consults of the Romish party in Ireland, printed in 1690, there is a 
passage which shows that this negotiation had not been kept strictly secret. 
" Though the King kept it private from most of his council, yet certain it is that 
he had promised the French King the disposal of that government and kingdom 
when thing* had attained to that growth as to be fit to bear it." 


herself from some public ceremonies on the plea of indisposition. 
It was said that many relics, supposed to possess extraordinary 
virtue, bad been hung about her. Soon the story made its way 
from the palace to the coffeehouses of the capital, and spread 
fast over the country. By a very small minority the rumour 
was welcomed with joy. The great body of the nation listen* d 
with mingled derision and fear. There was indeed nothing 
very extraordinary in what had happened. The king had but 
just completed his fifty-fourth year. The Queen was in the 
summer of life. She had already borne four children who had 
died voun^ ; and lonsr afterwards she was delivered of another 
child whom nobody had any interest in treating as suppositious, 
and who was therefore never said to be so. As, however, five 
years had elapsed since her last pregnancy the people, under 
the influence of that delusion which leads men to believe what 
they wish, had ceased to entertain any apprehension that she 
would give an heir to the throne. On the other hand, nothing 
seemed more natural and probable than that the Jesuits should 
have contrived a pious fraud. It was certain that they must 
consider the accession of the Princess of Orange as one of the 
greatest calamities which could befall their Church. It was 
equally certain that they would not be very scrupulous about 
doiii£ whatever ruijiht be necessarv to save their Church from a 
great calamity. In books written by eminent members of the 
Society, and licensed by its rulers, it was distinctly laid down that 
means even more shocking to all notions of justice and humanity 
than the introduction of a spurious heir into a family might 
lawfully be employed for ends less important than the con- 
version of a heretical kingdom. It had jjot abroad that 
some of the king's advisers, and even the King himself, had 
meditated schemes for defrauding the Lady Mary, either wholly 
or in part, of her rightful inheritance. A suspicion, not indeed 
well founded, but by no means so absurd as is commonly sup- 
posed, took possession of the public mind. The folly of some 
Roman Catholics confirmed the vulgar prejudice. They spoke 
of the auspicious event as strange, as miraculous, as an exertion 
of the same Divine power which had made Sarah proud and 


happy in Isaac, and had given Samuel to the prayers of Hannah. 
Mary's mother, the Duchess of Modena, had lately died. A 
short time before her death she had, it was said, implored the 
Virgin of Loretto, with fervent vows and rich offerLijjs, to be- 
stow a son on James. The King himself had, in the preceding 
August, turned aside from his progress to visit the Holy Well, 
and had there besought Saint Winifred to obtain for him that 
boon without which his great designs for the propagation of the 
true faith could be but imperfectly executed. The imprudent 
zealots who dwelt on these tales foretold with confidence that 
the unborn infant would be a boy, and offered to back their 
opinion by laying twenty guineas to one. Heaven, they af- 
firmed, would not have interfered, but for a great end. One 
fanatic announced that the Queen would give birth to twins, of 
whom the elder would be King of England, and the younger 
Pope of Rome. Mary could not conceal the delight with which 
she heard this prophecy, and her ladies found that they could 
not gratify her more than by talking of it. The Roman Catho- 
lics would have acted more wisely if they had spoken of the 
pregnancy as of a natural event, and if they had borne with mod- 
eration their unexpected good fortune. Their insolent triumph 
excited the popular indignation. Their predictions strengthened 
the popular suspicions. From the Prince and Princess of Den- 
mark down to porters and laundresses nobody alluded to the 
promised birth without a sneer. The wits of London described 
the new miracle in rhymes which, it may well be supposed, were 
not the most delicate. The rough country squires roared with 
laughter if they met with any person simple enough to believe 
that the Queen was really likely to be again a mother. A royal 
proclamation appeared, commanding the clergy to read a form 
of prayer and thanksgiving which had been prepared for this 
joyful occasion by Crewe and Sprat. The clergy obeyed ; but 
it was observed that the congregations made no responses and 
showed no signs of reverence. Soon in all the coffeehouses 
was handed about a brutal lampoon on the courtly prelates 
whose pens the King had employed. Mother East had also 
her full share of abuse. Into that homely monosyllable our 


ancestors had degraded the name of the great house of Este 
which reigned at Modena.* 

The new hope which elated the King's spirits was mingled 
with many fears. Something more than the birth of a Prince 
of Wales was necessary to the success of the plans formed by 
the Jesuitical party. It was not very likely that James would 
live till his son should be of a<^e to exercise the resjal functions. 
The law had made no provision for the case of a minority. The 
reigning sovereign was not competent to make provision for 
such a case by will. The legislature only could supply the de- 
fect. If James should die before the defect had been supplied, 
leaving a successor of tender years, the supreme power would un- 
doubtedly devolve on Protestants. Those Tories who held most 
firmly the doctrine that nothing could justify them in resisting 
their liege lord would have no scruple about drawing their swords 
against a Popish woman who should dare to usurp the guar- 
dianship of the realm and of the infant sovereign. The result 
of a contest could scarcely be matter of doubt. The Prince of 
Orange, or his wife, would be Regent. The young King would 
be placed in the hands of heretical instructors, whose arts might 
speedily efface from his mind the impressions which might have 
been made on it in the nursery. He might prove another Ed- 
ward the Sixth; and the blessing granted to the intercession of 
the Virgin Mother and of Saint Winifred might be turned into a 
curse. f This was a danger against which nothing but an Act of 
Parliament could be a security, and how was such an Act to be 
obtained ? Everything seemed to indicate that, if the Houses 
were convoked, they would come up to Westminster animated 
by the spirit of 1640. The event of the county elections could 

•Van Citters, ^ ct 2 ^ » ^ ov i 2 r- 1687 ; the Princess Anne to the Princess of 

Nov /, Dec. 2. 
Orange. March 14 and 20, 1087-8 ; Barillon, Dec. 1-11. lf>87 ; Revolution Politics ; 
the song •* Two Toms and a Nat ; " Johnstone, April 4, 16S8 ; Secret Consults of 
the Romish Paivty in Ireland, lf.OO. 

\ The King's uneasiness on this subject is strongly described by Ronquillo, 
Dec 12-22,1687. '• Un Principe de Vales y nn Duque de York y otro di Loeha- 
osterna (Lancaster, I suppose.) no bastan a reducir la gente ; porqno el Key tiene 
5t aflos, y vendrsi a morir, dejando loshijos pequeflos, y que entonces el reyno so 
apodorarA dellos, y los nombrara tutor, y ins edncara en la religion protestante, 
contra la disposicion que dejare el Rey, y la autoridad de la Keyna." 


hardly be doubted. The whole body of freeholders, high and 
low, clerical and lay, was strongly excited against the govern- 
ment In the great majority of those towns where the right of 
voting depended on the payment of local tax,es, or on the occu- 
pation of a tenement, no courtly candidate could dare to show 
his face. A very large part of the House of Commons was 
returned by members of municipal corporations. These cor- 
porations had recently been remodelled for the purpose of de- 
stroying the influence of the Whigs and Dissenters. More than 
a hundred constituent bodies had been deprived of their charters 
by tribunals devoted to the crown, or had been induced to avert 
compulsory disfranchisement by voluntary surrender. Every 
Mayor, every Alderman, every Town Clerk, from Berwick to 
Helstone, was a Tory and a Churchman : but Tories and 
Churchmen were now no longer devoted to the sovereign. The 
new municipalities were more unmanageable than the old muni- 
cipalities had ever been, and would undoubtedly return repre- 
sentatives whose first act would be to impeach all the Popish 
Privy Councillors, and all the members of the High Commis- 

In the Lords the prospect was scarcely less gloomy than in 
the Commons. Among the temporal peers it was certain that 
there would be an immense majority against the King's meas- 
ures ; and on that episcopal bench, which seven years before 
had unanimously supported him against those who had attempted 
to deprive him of his birthright, he could now look for support 
only to four or five sycophants despised by their profession and 
by their country.* 

To all men not utterly blinded by passion these difficulties ap- 
peared insuperable. The most unscrupulous slaves of power show- 
ed signs of uneasiness. Dryden muttered that the King would 
only make matters worse by trying to mend them, and sighed 

* Three lists framed at this time are extant ; one in the Frencn archives, the 
other two in the archives of the Portland family. In these lists every peer is 
entered under one of three head?, For the Repeal of the Test, Against the Repeal, 
and Doubtful. According to one list the numbers were, 31 for, 8G against, and 20 
doubtful ; according to another. 33 for, 87 against, and 19 doubtful ; according to 
the third, 35 for, 92 against, and 10 doubtful. Copies of the three lists are among 
the Mackintosh MSS. 

288 distort of England. 

for the golden days of the careless and goodnatured Charles. * 
l]vcn Jeffreys wavered. As long as he was poor, he was per- 
fectly ready to face obloquy and public hatred for lucre. But 
he had now, by corruption and extortion, accumulated great 
riches ; and he was more anxious to secure them than to in- 
crease them. Ills slackness drew on him a sharp reprimand 
from the xoyal lips. In dread of being deprived of the Great 
Seal, he promised whatever was required of him : but Barillon, 
in reporting this circumstance to Lewis, remarked that the King 
of England could place little reliance on any man who had any- 
thing to lose.f 

Nevertheless James determined to persevere. The sanction 
of a Parliament was necessary to his system. The sanction of 
a free and lawful Parliament it was evidently impossible to ob- 
tain ; but it might not be altogether impossible to bring together 
by corruption, by intimidation, by violent exertions of preroga- 
tive, by fraudulent distortions of law, an assembly which might 
call itself a Parliament, and mifdit be willing to register any 
edict of the Sovereign. Returning officers must be appointed 
who would avail themselves of the slightest pretence to declare 
the King's friends duly elected. Every placeman, from the 
highest to the lowest, must be made to understand that, if he 
wished to retain his office, he must, at this conjuncture, support 
the throne by his vote and interest. The High Commission 
meanwhile would keep its eye on the clergy. The boroughs, 
which had just been remodelled to serve one turn, might be re- 
modelled again to serve another. By such means the King 
hoped to obtain a majority in the House of Commons. The 
Upper House would then be at his mercy. He had undoubtedly 
by law the power of creating peers without limit; and this 
power he was fully determined to use. He did not wish, and 
indeed no sovereign can wish, to make the highest honour which 

* There is in the British Museum a letter of Dryden to Etherege. dated Feb. 
1688. I do not remember to have seen it in print. "Oh,"8ays Dryden, '*that 
our monarch would encourage noble idleness bv bis own example, as he of 
blesped memory did before him. For my muid unlive;* uio that ho will nui 
much advance bis affairs by stirring." 

t Barillou, *?-£ —' 16871 

bept. y, 


is in the gift of the crown worthless. He cherished the hope 
that, by calling up some heirs apparent to the assembly in which 
they must ultimately sit, and by conferring English titles on 
some Scotch and Irish Lords, he might be able to secure a 
majority without ennobling new men in such numbers as to 
bring ridicule on the coronet and the ermine. But there was 
no extremity to which he was not prepared to go in case of ne- 
cessity. When in a large .company an opinion was expressed 
that the peers would prove intractable, " Oh, silly," cried Sun- 
derland, turning to Churchill ; " your troop of guards shall be 
called up to the House of Lords." * 

Having determined to pack a Parliament, James set himself 
energetically and methodically to the work. A proclamation 
appeared in the Gazette, announcing that the King had deter- 
mined to revise the Commissions of Peace and of Lieutenancy, 
and to retain in public employment only such gentlemen as should 
be disposed to support his policy. | A committee of seven Privy 
Councillors sate at Whitehall, for the purpose of regulating, — 
such was the phrase, — the municipal corporations. In this com- 
mittee Jeffreys alone represented the Protestant interest. Powis 
alone represented the moderate Roman Catholics. All the other 
members belonged to the Jesuitical faction. Among them was 
Petre, who had just been sworn of the Council. Till he took his 
seat at the board, his elevation had been kept a profound secret 
from everybody but Sunderland. The public indignation at this 
new violation of the law was clamorously expressed ; and it was 
remarked that the Roman Catholics were even louder in censure 
than the Protestants. The vain and ambitious Jesuit was now 
charged with the business of destroying and reconstructing half 
the constituent bodies in the kingdom. Under the Committee 
of Privy Councillors a subcommittee consisting of bustling agents 
less eminent in rank was entrusted with the management of 
details. Local subcommittees of regulators all over the country 
corresponded with the central board at Westminster. $ 

* Told by Lord Bradford who was present, to Dartmouth ; note on Burnet, i. 
755. t London Gazette, Dec. 12, 1687. 

X Bonrepaux to Seignelay, November 14-24 ; Van Citters, November 15-25 $ 
Lords' Journals, December 20, 1C89. 

Vol. II.— J9 


The persons on whom James chiefly relied for assistance in 
his new and arduous enterprise were the Lords Lieutenants. 
Every Lord Lieutenant received written orders directing him to 
go down immediately into his county. There he was to summon 
before him all his deputies, and all the Justices of the Peace, 
and to put to them a series of interrogatories framed for the 
purpose of ascertaining how they would act at a general election, 
lie was to take down the answers in writing, and to transmit 
them to the government. He was to furnish lists of such Roman 
Catholics, and such Protestant Dissenters, as might be best 
qualified for the bench and for commands in the militia. lie 
was also to examine into the state of all the boroughs in his 
county, and to make such reports as might be necessary to guide 
the operations of the board of regulators. It was intimated to 
him that he must himself perform these duties, and that he 
could not be permitted to delegate them to any other person.* 

The first effect produced by these orders would have at once 
sobered a prince less infatuated than James. Half the Lords 
Lieutenants of England peremptorily refused to stoop to the 
odious service which was required of them. They were imme- 
diately dismissed. All those who incurred this glorious disgrace 
were peers of high consideration ; and all had hitherto been re- 
garded as firm supporters of monarchy. Some names in the 
list deserve especial notice. 

The noblest subject in England, and indeed, as Englishmen 
loved to say, the noblest subject in Europe, was Aubrey de Vere, 
twentieth and last of the old Earls of Oxford. He derived his 
title, through an uninterrupted male descent, from a time when the 
families of Howard and Seymour were still obscure, when the 
Nevilles and Percies enjoyed only a provincial celebrity, and 
when even the great name of Plantagenet had not yet been 
heard in England. One chief of the house of De Vere had 
held high command at Hastings ; another had marched, with 
Godfrey and Tancred,over heaps of slaughtered Moslem, to the 
sepulchre of Christ. The first Earl of Oxford had been minis- 
ter of Henry Beauclerc. The third Earl had been conspicuous 

* Van Cittery, 9&«J 1GS7. 

i\ov. r, 


among the Lords who extorted the Great Charter from John. 
The seventh Earl had fought bravely at Cressy and Poictiers. 
The thirteenth Earl had, through many vicissitudes of fortune, 
been the chief of the party of the Red Hose, and had led the 
van on the decisive day of Bosvvorth. The seventeenth Earl 
had shone at the court of Elizabeth, and had won for himself 
an honourable place among the early masters of English poetry. 
The nineteenth Earl had fallen in arms for the Protestant reli- 
gion and for the liberties of Europe under the walls of Maestricht. 
His son Aubrey, in whom closed the longest and most illustrious 
line of nobles that England has seen, a man of loose morals, but 
of inoffensive temper and of courtly manners, was Lord Lieu- 
tenant of Essex, and Colonel of the Blues. His nature was not 
factious ; and his interest inclined him to avoid a rupture with 
the Court ; for his estate was encumbered, and his military com- 
mand lucrative. He was summoned to the royal closet ; and 
an explicit declaration of his intentions was demanded from him. 
" Sir," answered Oxford, " I will standby Your Majesty against 
all enemies to the last drop of my blood. But this is matter of 
conscience, and I cannot comply." He was instantly deprived 
of his lieutenancy and of his regiment. * 

Inferior in antiquity and splendour to the house of De Vere, 
but to the house of De Vere alone, was the House of Talbot. 
Ever since the reign of Edward the Third, the Talbots had 
sate among the peers of the realm. The Earldom of Shrews- 
bury had been bestowed, in the fifteenth century, on John 
Talbot, the antagonist of the Maid of Orleans. He had long 
been remembered by his countrymen with tenderness and rev- 
erence as one of the most illustrious of those warriors who had 
striven to erect a great English empire on the Continent of 
Europe. The stubborn courage which he had shown in the 
midst of disasters had made him an abject of interest greater 
than more fortunate captains had inspired ; and his death had 

* .Halstead's Succinct Genealogy of the Family of Vere, 1685 ; Collins's His- 
torical Collections. See in the Lords' Journals, and in Jones's Reports, the pro- 
ceedings respecting the earldom of Oxford, in March and April 1625-6. Tho 
exordium of the speech of Lord Chief Justice Crewe is among the finest speci- 
mens of the ancient English eloquence. Van Citters, Feb. 7-17, 1688. 


furnished a singularly touching scene to our early stage. His 
posterity had, during two centuries, flourished in great honour. 
The head of the family at the time of the Restoration was 
Francis, the eleventh Earl, a Roman Catholic. His death had 
been attended by circumstances such as, even in those licentious 
times which immediately followed the downfall of the Puritan 
tyranny, had moved men to horror and pity. The Duke of 
Buckingham in the course of his vagrant amours was for a mo- 
ment attracted by the Countess of Shrewsbury. She was 
easily won. Her Lord challenged the gallant and fell. Some 
said that the abandoned woman witnessed the combat in man's 
attire, and others that she clasped her victorious lover to her 
bosom while his shirt was still dripping with the blood of her 
husband. The honours of the murdered man descended to his 
infant son Charles. As the orphan grew up to man's estate, 
it was generally acknowledged that of the young nobility of 
England none had been so richly gifted by nature. His person 
was pleasing, his temper singularly sweet, his parts such as, if 
he had been born in a humble rank, might well have raised him 
to civil greatness. All these advantages he had so improved 
that, before he was of age, he was allowed to be one of the 
finest gentlemen and finest scholars of his time. His learning 
is proved by notes which are still extant in his handwriting on 
books in almost every department of literature. He spoke 
French like a gentleman of Lewis's bedchamber, and Italian 
like a citizen of Florence. It was impossible that a youth of 
such parts should not be anxious to understand the grounds on 
which his family had refused to conform to the religion of the 
state. He studied the disputed points closely, submitted his 
doubts to priests of his own faith, laid their answers before 
Tillotson, weighed the arguments on both sides long and atten- 
tively, and, after an investigation which occupied two years, 
declared himself a Protestant. The Church of England wel- 
comed the illustrious convert with delight. His popularity was 
great, and became greater when it was known that royal solici- 
tations and promises had been vainly employed to seduce him 
back to the superstition which he had abjured. The character 


of the young Earl did not however develope itself in a manner 
quite satisfactory to those who had borne the chief part in his 
conversion. His morals by no means escaped the contagion of 
fashionable libertinism. In truth the shock which had over- 
turned his early prejudices had at the same time unfixed all 
his opinions, and left him to the unchecked guidance of his feel- 
ings. Bat, though his principles were unsteady, his impulses 
were so generous, his temper so bland, his manners so gracious 
and easy, that it was impossible not to love him. He was 
early called the King of Hearts, and never, through a long, 
eventful and chequered life, lost his right to that name.* 

Shrewsbury was Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire and Col- 
onel of one of the regiments of horse which had been raised in 
consequence of the "Western insurrection. lie now refused to 
act under the board of regulators, and was deprived of both his 

None of the English nobles enjoyed a larger measure of pub- 
lic favour than Charles Sackville Earl of Dorset. He was indeed 
a remarkable man. In his youth he had been one of the most no- 
torious libertines of the wild time which followed the Restoration. 
He had been the terror of the City watch, had passed many 
nights in the round house, and had at least once occupied a cell in 
Newgate. His passion for Betty Morrice, and for Nell Gwynn, 
who called him her Charles the First, had given no small amuse- 
ment and scandal to the town.f Yet, in the midst of follies and 
vices, his courageous spirit, his fine understanding, and his natural 
goodness of heart, had been conspicuous. Men said that the ex- 
cesses in which he indulged were common between him and the 
whole race of gay young Cavaliers, but that his sympathy with 
human suffering, and the generosity with which he made repar- 
ation to those whom his freaks had injured, were all his own. 

* Coxc's Shrewsbury Correspondence ; Mackay's Memoirs ; Life of Charle3 
Duke of Shrewsbury, 1718 ; Burnet, i. 7G2 ; Birch's Life of Tillotson, where Ike 
reader will find a letter from Tillotson to Shrewsbury, which seems to me a 
model of serious, friendly, and gentlemanlike reproof. 

t The King v/as only Nell's Charles III. "Whether Dorset or Major Charles 
Hart had the honour of being her Charles I. is a point open to dispute But the 
evidence in favour of Dorset's claim seems to me to preponderate. See the sup- 
pressed passage of Burnet, i. 2C3, and Pcpys's Diary, Oct. 2G, 1C67. 


His associates were astonished by the distinction which the pub- 
lic made between him and them. " He may do what he chooses," 
said Wilmot; "he is never in the wrong." The judgment of 
the world became still more favourable to Dorset when he had 
been sobered by time and marriage. His graceful manners, his 
brilliant conversation, his soft heart, his open hand, were uni- 
versally praised. No day passed, it was said, in which some 
distressed family had not reason to bless his name. And yet, 
with all his good nature, such was the keenness of his wit that 
scoffers whose sarcasm all the town feared stood in craven fear 
of the sarcasm of Dorset. All political parties esteemed and ca- 
ressed him : but politics were not much to his taste. Had he 
been driven by necessity to exert himself, lie would probably 
have risen to the highest post in the state • but he was born to 
rank so high and wealth so ample that man}' of the motives 
which impel men to engage in public affairs were wanting to 
him. He took just so much part in parliamentary and diplomatic 
business as sufficed to show that he wanted nothing but inclina- 
tion to rival Danby and Sunderland, and turned away to pursuits 
which pleased him better. Like many other men who, with 
great natural abilities, are constitutionally and habitually indo- 
lent, he became an intellectual voluptuary, and a master of all 
those pleasing branches of knowledge which can be acquired 
without severe application. He was allowed to be the best 
judge of jminting, of sculpture, of architecture, of acting, that 
the court could show. On questions of polite learning his deci- 
sions were regarded at all the coffeehouses as without appeal. 
More than one clever play which had failed on the first repre- 
sentation was supported by his single authority against the 
whole clamour of the pit, and came forth successful from the 
second trial. The delicacy of his taste in French composition 
was extolled by Saint Evremond and La Fontaine. Such a 
patron of letters England had never seen. His bounty was be- 
stowed with equal judgment and liberality, and was confined to 
no sect or faction. Men of genius, estranged from each other 
by literary jealousy or by difference of political opinion, joined 
in acknowledging his impartial kindness. Dryden owned that 


he had been saved from ruin by Dorset's princely generosity. 
Yet Montague and Prior, who had keenly satirised Dryden, 
were introduced by Dorset into public life ; and the best 
comedy of Dryden's mortal enemy, Shadwell, was written at 
Dorset's country seat. The munificent Earl might, if such had 
been his wish, have been the rival of those of whom he was con- 
tent to be the benefactor. For the verses which he occasionally 
composed, unstudied as they are, exhibit the traces of a genius 
which, assiduously cultivated, would have produced something 
great. In the small volume of his works may be found songs 
which have the easy vigour of Suckling, and little satires which 
sparkle with wit as splendid as that of Butler.* 

Dorset was Lord Lieutenant of Sussex ; and to Sussex the 
board of regulators looked with great anxiety : for in no other 
county, Cornwall and Wiltshire excepted, were there so many 
smrdl boroughs. He was ordered to repair to his post. No 
person who knew him expected that he would obey. Pie gave 
such an answer as became him, and was informed that his ser- 
vices were no longer needed. The interest which his many no- 
ble and amiable qualities inspired was heightened when it was 
known that he had received by the post an anonymous billet 
telling him that, if he did not promptly comply with the King's 
wishes, all his wit and popularity should not save him from as- 
sassination. A similar warning was sent to Shrewsbury. 
Threatening letters were then much more rare than they after- 
wards became. It is therefore not strange that the people, ex- 
cited as they were, should have been disposed to believe that 
the best and noblest Englishmen were really marked out for 

* Pepys's Diary ; Prior's Dedication of his Poems to the Duke of Dorset ; 
Johnson's Life of Dorset ; Dryden's Essay on Satire and Dedication of the Ee >ay 
on Dramatic Poesy. The affection of Dorset for his wife and his strict fidelity to 
her are mentioned with great contempt by that profligate coxcomb Sir George 
Etheredge in his letters from Ratisbon, December 9-10, 1687, and January L6-2t>, 
1688. See also Shadwell's Dedication of the Squire of Alsatia ; Burnet, i. 264 ; 
Mackay's Characters. Some parts of Dorset's character are well touched in this 
epitaph, written by Pope : 

*■ Yet soft his nature, though severe his lay ; •• 
md again : 

" Blest courtier, who could King and country please* 
Yet sacred keep his friendship and his ease. ' 


Popish daggers.* Just when these letters were the talk of all 
London, the mutilated corpse of a noted Puritan was found in 
the streets. It was soon discovered that the murderer had acted 
from no religious or political motive. But the first suspicions 
of the populace fell on the Papists. The mangled remains were 
carried in procession to the house of the Jesuits in the Savoy; 
and during a few hours the fear and rage of the populace were 
scarcely less violent than on the day when Godfrey was borne 
to the grave. f 

The other dismissions must be more concisely related. The 
Duke of Somerset, whose regiment had been taken from him 
some months before, was now turned out of the lord lieutenancy 
of the East Riding of Yorkshire. The North Riding was taken 
from Viscount Fauconberg, Shropshire from Viscount Newport, 
and Lancashire from the Earl of Derby, grandson of that gal- 
lant Cavalier who had faced death so bravely, both on the field 
of battle and on the scaffold, for the House of Stuart. The 
Earl of Pembroke, who had recently served the Crown with 
fidelity and spirit against Monmouth, was displaced in Wiltshire, 
the Earl of Rutland in Leicestershire, the Earl of Bridgewater 
in Buckinghamshire, the Earl of Thanet m Cumberland, the 
Earl of Northampton in Warwickshire, the Earl of Abingdon 
in Oxfordshire, and the Earl of Scarsdale in Derbyshire. 
Scarsdale was also deprived of a regiment of cavalry, and of an 
office in the household of the Princess of Denmark. She made 
a struggle to retain his services, and yielded only to a peremp- 
tory command of her father. The Earl of Gainsborough was 
ejected, not only from the lieutenancy of Hampshire, but also 
from the government of Portsmouth and the rangership of the 
New Forest, two places for wbich he had, only a few months 
before, given five thousand pounds. $ 

The King could not find Lords of great note, or indeed 
Protestant Lords of any sort, who would accept the vacant 

* Barillon, Jan. 9-19,1688; Van Citters, '-"'-% 
' ' Feb. 10 

t Adda, Feb. 3-13, 10-20, 1688. 

X Barillon, Dec. 5-15, 8-18, 12-22, 1687; Van Citters, ^1-J^ , Dec. 2-12. 


offices. It was necessary to assign two shires to Jeffreys, a 
new man whose landed property was small, and two to Preston, 
who was not even an English peer. The other counties which 
had been left without governors were entrusted, with scarcely 
an exception, to known Roman Catholics, or to courtiers who 
had secretly promised the King to declare themselves Roman 
Catholics as soon as they could do so with prudence. 

At length the new machinery was put in action ; and soon 
from every corner of the realm arrived the news of complete 
aad hopeless failure. The catechism by which the Lords Lieu- 
tenants had been directed to test the sentiments of the country 
gentlemen consisted of three questions. Every magistrate and 
Deputy Lieutenant was to be asked, first, whether, if he should 
be chosen to serve in Parliament, he would vote for a bill 
framed on the principles of the Declaration of Indulgence ; 
secondly, whether, as an elector, he would support candidates 
who would engage to vote for such a bill ; and thirdly, whether, 
in his private capacity, he would aid the King's benevolent 
designs by living in friendship with people of all religious per- 

As soon as the questions got abroad, a form of answer, 
drawn up with admirable skill, was circulated all over the 
kingdom, and was generally adopted. It was to the following 
effect: "As a member of the House of Commons, should I 
have the honour of a seat there, I shall think it. my duty care- 
fully to weigh such reasons as may be adduced in debate for 
and against a Bill of Indulgence, and then to vote according to 
my conscientious conviction. As an elector, I shall give my 
support to candidates whose notions of the duty of a representative 
agree with my own. As a private man, it is my wish to live in 
peace and charity with every body." This answer, far more pro- 
voking than a direct refusal, because slightly tinged with a sober 
and decorous irony which could not well be resented, was all that 
the emissaries of the Court could extract from most of the country 
gentlemen. Arguments, promises, threats, were tried in vain. 

* Van Citters, v.-— 2 f- 1G37 ; Lonsdale's Memoirs. 


The Duke of Norfolk, though a Protestant, and though dissatisfied 
with the proceedings of the government, had consented to become 
its agent in two counties. He went first to Surrey, where he 
6oon found that nothing could be done.* He then repaired to 
Norfolk, and returned to inform the King that, of seventy gen- 
tlemen who bore office in that great province, only six had held 
out hopes that they should support the policy of the Court, f 
The Duke of Beaufort, whose authority extended over four 
English shires and over the whole principality of Wales, came 
up to Whitehall with an account not less discouraging.! Roch- 
ester was Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire. All his little stock 
of virtue had been expended in his struggle against the strong 
temptation to sell his religion for lucre. He was still bound to 
the Court by a pension of four thousand pounds a year, and in 
return for this pension he was willing to perform any service, 
however illegal or degrading, provided that he were not required 
to go through the forms of a reconciliation with Rome. He had 
readily undertaken to manage his county ; and he exerted himself, 
as usual, with indiscreet heat and violence. But his anger was 
thrown away on the sturdy squires to whom he addressed him- 
self. They told him with one voice that they would send up no 
nun to Parliament who would vote for taking away the safe- 
guards of the Protestant religion. § The same answer was given 
to the Chancellor in Buckinghamshire. || The gentry of Shrop- 
shire, assembled at Ludlow, unanimously refused to fetter them- 
selves by the pledge which the King demanded of them.1T The 
Earl of Yarmouth reported from Wiltshire that, of sixty magis- 
trates and Deputy Lieutenants with whom he had conferred, 
only seven had given favourable answers, and that even those 
seven could not be trusted.** The renegade Peterborough made 
no progress in Northamptonshire, ft ^ 1S brother renegade Dover 

* Van Citters, ? ov - 22 - 1687. t Ibid T>c ^ 7 i. 1687-8. * Ibi(1 - 

Dec. 2, Jan. G, 

§ Rochester's offensive warmth on this occasion is twice noticed by John- 
stone, November 23, and December 8, 1687. His failure is mentioned by Van 
Citters, December 6-16. 

II Van Citters, Dec. 6-16, 1687. Tf Ibid. Dec. 20-30, 1687. 

** Ibid. * farch " n ' 1687- tt Ibid. ^2Ii*h 1687. 

April 9, Dec. 2, 


was equally unsuccessful in Cambridgeshire.* Preston brought 
cold news from Cumberland and Westmoreland. Dorsetshire 
and Huntingdonshire were animated by the same spirit. The 
Earl of Bath, after along canvass, returned from the West with 
gloomy tidings. He had been authorised to make the most 
tempting offers to the inhabitants of that region. In particular 
lie had promised that, if proper respect were shown to the royal 
wishes, the trade in tin should be freed from the oppressive 
restrictions under which it lay. But this lure, which at an- 
other time would have proved irresistible, was now slighted. 
All the Justices and Deputy Lieutenants of Devonshire and 
Cornwall, without a single dissenting voice, declared that they 
would put life and property into jeopardy for the King, but that 
the Protestant religion was dearer to them than either life or 
property. " And Sir," said Bath, " if your Majesty should dis- 
miss all these gentlemen, their successors would give exactly the 
same answer." f If there was any district in which the govern- 
ment might have hoped for success, that district was Lancashire. 
Considerable doubt had been felt as to the result of what was 
passing there. In no part of the realm had so many opulent and 
honourable families adhered to the old religion. The heads of 
many of those families had already, by virtue of the dispensing 
power, been made Justices of the Peace and entrusted with 
commands in the militia. Yet from Lancashire the new Lord 
Lieutenant, himself a Roman Catholic, reported that two thirds 
*of his deputies and of the magistrates were opposed to the Court. $ 
But the proceedings in Hampshire wounded the King's pride 
still more deeply. Arabella Churchill had, more than twenty 
years before, borne him a son widely renowned, at a later period, 
as one of the most skilful captains of Europe. The youth, 
named James Fitzjames, had as yet given no promise of the em- 
inence which he afterwards attained : but his manners were so 
gentle and inoffensive that he had no enemy except Mary of 
Modena, who had long hated the child of the concubine with the 

* Van Citters, Nov. 15-25, 1687. t Ibid. April 10-20, 1688 

+ The anxiety about Lancashire is mentioned, by Van Citters, in a despatch 
dated Nov. 18-28, 1687 ; the result in a dispatch dated four days later. 


bitter hatred of a childless wife. A small part of the Jesuitical 
faction had, before the pregnancy of the Queen was announced, 
seriously thought of setting him up as a competitor of the Princess 
of Orange. # When it is remembered how signally Monmouth, 
though believed by the populace to be legitimate, and though 
the champion of the national religion, had failed in a similar 
competition, it must seem extraordinary that any man should 
have been so much blinded by fanaticism as to think of placing 
on the throne one who was universally known to be a Popish bas- 
tard. It does not appear that this absurd design was ever counte- 
nanced by the King The boy, however, was acknowledged ; 
and whatever distinctions a subject, not of the royal blood, 
could hope to attain were bestowed on him. He had been 
created Duke of Berwick ; and he was now loaded with hon- 
ourable and lucrative employments, taken from those noblemen 
who had refused to comply with the royal commands. He suc- 
ceeded the Earl of Oxford as Colonel of the Blues, and the 
Earl of Gainsborough as Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Ran- 
ger of the New Forest, and Governor of Portsmouth. On the 
frontier of Hampshire Berwick expected to have been met, ac- 
cording to custom, by a long cavalcade of baronets, knights, and 
squires : but not a single person of note appeared to welcome 
him. He sent out letters commanding the attendance of the 
gentry ; but only five or six paid the smallest attention to his 
summons. The rest did not wait to be dismissed. They de- 
clared that they would take no part in the civil or military 
government of their country while the King was represented 
there by a Papist, and voluntarily laid down their commis- 
sions, f 

Sunderland, who had been named Lord Lieutenant of War- 
wickshire in the room of the Earl of Northampton, found some 
excuse for not going down to face the indignation and contempt 
of the gentry of that shire ; and his plea was the more readily 
admitted because the King had, by that time, begun to feel that 
the spirit of the rustic gentry was not to be bent.? 

* Bonrepaux, July 11-21, 1687. t Van Citters, Feb. 3-13, 1688. 

t Ibid. April 5-15, 1688. 


It is to be observed that those who displayed this spirit 
wore not the old enemies of the House of Stuart. The Com- 
missions of Peace and Lieutenancy had long been carefully 
purged of all republican names. The persons from whom the 
Court had in vain attempted to extract any promise of support 
were, with scarcely an exception, Tories. The elder among 
them could still show scars given by the swords of Roundheads, 
and receipts for plate sent to Charles the First in his distress. 
The 3-ounger had adhered firmly to James against Shaftesbury 
and Monmouth. Such were the men who were now turned out 
of office in a mass by the very prince to whom they had given 
such signal proofs of fidelity. Dismission however only made 
them more resolute. It had become a sacred point of honour 
among them to stand stoutly by one another in this crisis. 
There could bo no doubt that, if the suffrage of the freeholders 
were fairly taken, not a single knight of the shire favourable to 
the policy of the government would be returned. Men there- 
fore asked one another, with no small anxiety, whether the 
suffrages were likely to be fairly taken. The list of the Sheriffs 
for the new year was impatiently expected. It appeared 
while the Lord Lieutenants were still engaged in their canvass, 
and was received with a general cry of alarm and indignation. 
Most of the functionaries who were to preside at the county 
elections were either Roman Catholics or Protestant Dissenters, 
who had expressed their approbation of the Indulgence.* For 
a time the most gloomy apprehensions prevailed : but soon they 
began to subside. There was good reason to believe that there 
was a point beyond which the King could not reckon on the 
support even of those Sheriffs who were members of his own 
Church. Between the Roman Catholic courtier and the Roman 
Catholic country gentleman there was very little sympathy. 
That cabal which domineered at Whitehall consisted partly of 
fanatics, who were ready to break through all rules of morality 
and to throw the world into confusion for the purpose of pro- 
pagating their religion, and partly of hypocrites who, for lucre, 
had apostatised from the faith in which they had been brought 
* London Gazette, Dec 5, 1C87 ; Van Citters, Dec. &-16. 


up, and who now overacted the zeal characteristic of neophytes. 
Both the fanatical and the hypocritical courtiers were generally 
destitute of all English feeling. In some of them devotion to 
their Church had extinguished every national sentiment. Some 
were Irishmen, whose patriotism consisted in mortal hatred of 
the Saxon conquerors of Ireland. Some, again, were traitors, 
who received regular hire from a foreign power. Some had 
passed a great part of their lives abroad, and either were mere 
cosmopolites, or felt a positive distaste for the manners and in- 
stitutions of the country which was now subjected to their rule. 
Between such men and the lord of a Cheshire or Staffordshire 
manor who adhered to the old Church there was scarcely any- 
thing in common. He was neither a fanatic nor a hypocrite. 
He was a Roman Catholic because his father and grandfather 
had been so ; and he held his hereditary faith, as men gen- 
erally hold a hereditary faith, sincerely, but with little en- 
thusiasm. In all other points he was a mere English squire, 
and, if he differed from the neighbouring squires, differed 
from them by being somewhat more simple and clownish 
than tbey. The disabilities under which he lay had prevented 
his mind from expanding to the standard, moderate as that 
standard was, which the minds of Protestant country gentlemen 
then ordinarily attained. Excluded, when a boy, from Eton 
and Westminster, when a youth, from Oxford and Cambridge, 
when a man, from Parliament and from the bench of justice, he 
generally vegetated as quietly as the elms of the avenue which 
led to his ancestral grange. His cornfields, his dairy, and his 
cider press, his grey-hounds, his fishing rod, and his gun, his ale 
and his tobacco, occupied almost all his thoughts. With his 
neighbours, in spite of his religion, he was generally on good 
terms. They knew him to be unambitious and inoffensive. 
He was almost always of a good old family. He was always 
a Cavalier. His peculiar notions were not obtruded, and 
caused no annoyance. He did not, like a Puritan, torment 
himself and others with scruples about everything that was 
pleasant. On the contrary, he was as keen a sportsman, and 
as jolly a boon companion, as any man who had taken the oath 


of supremacy and the declaration against transubstantiation. 
He met his brother squires at the cover, was in with them at 
the death, and, when the sport was over, took them home with 
him to a venison pasty and to October four years in bottle. 
The oppressions which he had undergone had not been such 
as to impel him to any desperate resolution. Even when his 
Church was barbarously persecuted, his life and property were 
in little danger. The most impudent false witnesses could hardly 
venture to shock the common sense of mankind by accusing him 
of being a conspirator. The Papists whom Oates selected for 
attack were peers, prelates, Jesuits, Benedictines, a busy politi- 
cal a^ent, a lawyer in high practice. The Roman Catholic 
country gentleman, protected by his obscurity, by his peaceable 
demeanour, and by the good will of those among whom he lived, 
carted his hay or filled his bag with game unmolested, while 
Coleman and Langhorne, Whitbread and Pickering, Archbishop 
Plunkett and Lord Stafford, died by the halter or the axe. An 
attempt was indeed made by a knot of villains to bring home a 
charge of treason to Sir Thomas Gascoigne, an aged Roman 
Catholic baronet of Yorkshire : but twelve gentlemen of the 
West Riding, who knew his way of life, could not be convinced 
that their honest old acquaintance had hired cutthroats to 
murder the King, and, in spite of charges which did very little 
honour to the bench, found a verdict of Not Guilty. Some- 
times, indeed, the head of an old and respectable provincial 
family might reflect with bitterness that he was excluded, on 
account of his religion, from places of honour and authority 
which men of humbler descent and less ample estate were 
thought competent to fill : but he was little disposed to risk 
land and life in a struggle against overwhelming odds ; and his 
honest English spirit would have shrunk with horror from 
means such as were contemplated by the Petresand Tyrconnels. 
Indeed he would have been as ready as any of his Protestant 
neighbours to gird on his sword, and put pistols in his holsters, 
for the defence of his native land against an invasion of French 
or Irish Papists. Such was the general character of the men 
to whom James now looked as to his most trustworthy instru- 


ments for the conduct of county elections. He soon found 
that they were not inclined to throw away the esteem of their 
neighbours, and to endanger their heads and their estates, by 
rendering him an infamous and criminal service. Several of 
them refused to be Sheriffs. Of those who accepted the 
shrievalty many declared that they would discharge their duty 
as fairly as if they were members of the Established Church, 
and would return no candidate who had not a real majority.* 

If the King could place little confidence even in his Roman 
Catholic Sheriffs, still less could he rely on the Puritans. 
Since the publication of the Declaration several months had 
elapsed, months crowded with important events, months of 
unintermitted controversy. Discussion had opened the eyes 
of many Dissenters : but the acts of the government, and es- 
pecially the severity with which Magdalene College had been 
treated, had done more than even the pen of Halifax to alarm 
and to unite all classes of Protestants. Most of those sec- 
taries who had been induced to express gratitude for the 
Indulgence were now ashamed of their error, and were desirous 
of making atonement by casting in their lot with the great body 
of their countrymen. 

* About twenty years before this time a Jesuit had noticed the retiring char- 
acter of the Roman Catholic country gentlemen of England. " La nobilta 
lnglese, senon e legata in servigio di Corte, 6 in opera di maestrato, vive, e gode 
il piudeli' anno alia campagna, ne' suoi palagi e poderi, dove son liberi e padroni; 
e ci6 tanto piu sollecitamente i Cattolici quanto piu utilmente, si come meno 
osservati cola."'— L'lnghilterra descritta dal P. Daniello Bartoli. Roma, 1C67 

'* Many of the Popish Sheriffs," Johnstone wrote, "have estates, and declare 
that whoever expects false returns from them will be disappointed. The Popish 
gentry that live at their houses in the country are much different from those that 
live here in town. Several of them have refused to be Sheriffs or Deputy Lieu- 
tenants." Dec. 8, 1687. 

Ronquillo says the same. " Algunos Catolicos que f ueron nombrados por she- 
rifes se han excusado," Jan. 9-19, 1C88. He some months later assured his court 
that the Catholic country gentlemen would willingly consent to a compromise of 
which the terms should be that the penal laws should be abolished and the test 
retained. " Estoy informado," he says, "que lo< Catolicos de las provincias no 
lo reprueban, pues no pretendiendo oficios, y siendo solo algunos da la Corte los 
proveehosos, les parece que mejoran su estado, quedando seguros ellos y sua 
descendientes en la religion, en la quietud, y en la seguridad de bus haciendas." 

5^5 icss. 

Aug. 2, 


In consequence of this change in the feeling of the Noncon- 
formists, the government found almost as great difficulty in the 
towns as in the counties. When the regulators began their 
work, they had taken it for granted that every Dissenter who 
had availed himself of the Indulgence would be favourable to 
the lung's policy. They were therefore confident that they 
should be able to fill all the municipal offices in the kingdom 
with staunch friends. In the new charters a power had been 
reserved to the crown of dismissing magistrates at pleasure. 
This power was now exercised without limit. It was by no 
means equally clear that James had the power of appointing 
magistrates : but whether it belonged to him or not, he deter- 
mined to assume it Everywhere, from the Tweed to the Land's 
End, Tory functionaries were ejected ; and the vacant places 
were filled with Presbyterians, Independents, and Baptists. In 
the new charter of the City of London the Crown had reserved 
the power of displacing the Masters, Wardens, and Assistants 
of all the companies. Accordingly more than eight hundred 
citizens of the first consideration, all of them members of that 
party which had opposed the Exclusion Bill, were turned out of 
office by a single edict. In a short time appeared a supplement 
to this long list.* But scarcely had the new officebearers been 
sworn in when it was discovered that they were as unmanagea- 
ble as their predecessors. At Newcastle on Tyne the regulators 
appointed a Roman Catholic Mayor and Puritan Aldermen. 
No doubt was entertained that the municipal body, thus re- 
modelled, would vote an address promising to support the 
Kind's measures. The address however was negatived. The 
Mayor went up to London in a fury, and told the King that the 
Dissenters were all knaves and rebels, and that in the whole 
corporation the government could not reckon on more than four 
votes. f At Reading twenty-four Tory Aldermen were dismissed. 
Twenty-four new Aldermen were appointed. Twenty-three of 
these immediately declared against the Indulgence, and were 

* Privy Council Book, Sept. 25, 1687 ; Feb. 21, 1C87-8. 

t Records of the Corporation, quoted in Brand's History of Newcastle ; John, 
stone, Feb, 21, 1G87-8. 

Vol. II.— 20 >. 


dismissed in their turn.* In the course of a few days the 
borough of Yarmouth was governed by three different sets of 
magistrates, all equally hostile to the Court.f These are mere 
examples of what was passing all over the kingdom. The Dutch 
Ambassador informed the States that in many towns the public 
functionaries had, within one month, been changed twice, and 
even thrice, and yet changed in vain.t From the records of the 
Privy Council it appears that the number of regulations, as they 
were called, exceeded two hundred. § The regulators indeed 
found that, in not a few places, the change had been for the 
worse. The discontented Tories, even while murmuring against 
the King's policy, had constantly expressed respect for his per- 
son and his office, and had disclaimed all thought of resistance. 
Very different was the language of some of the new members 
of corporations. It was said that old soldiers of the Common- 
wealth, who, to their own astonishment and that of the public, 
had been made Aldermen, gave the agents of the Court very 
distinctly to understand that blood should flow before Popery 
and arbitrary power were established in England. || 

The regulators found that little or nothing had been gained 
by what had as yet been done. There was one way, and one 
way only, in which they could hope to effect their object. The 
charters of the boroughs must be resumed ; and other charters 
must be granted confining the elective franchise to very small 
constituent bodies appointed by the sovereign. IF 

But how was this plan to be* carried into effect ? In a few of the 
new charters, indeed, a right of revocation had been reserved to 
the crown : but the rest James could get into his hands only by 
voluntary surrender on the part of corporations, or by judgment 
of a court of law. Few corporations were now disposed to sur- 
render their charters voluntarily : and such judgments as would 
suit the purposes of the government were hardly to be expected 
even from such a slave as Wright. The writs of Quo Warranto 

* Johnstone, Feb. 21, 1687-8. t Van Citters, Feb. 14-24. 1688. 

% Ibid. May 1-11, 1688. 

§ In the margin of the Privy Council Book may be observed the words " Second 
Regulation," and "Third Regulation," when a corporation had bpen remodelled 
more than once. U Johnstone, May 23, 1G88. *u ibid. Feb. 21, 1688. 


which had been brought a few years before for the purpose of 
crushing the Whig party had been condemned by every impartial 
man. Yet those writs had at least the semblance of justice ; 
for they were brought against ancient municipal bodies, and 
there were few ancient municipal bodies in which some abuse, 
sufficient to afford a pretext for penal proceeding, had not grown 
up in the course of ages. But the corporations now to be at- 
tacked were still in the innocence of infancy. The oldest 
among them had not completed its fifth year. It was impos- 
sible that many of them should have committed offences merit- 
ino- disfranchisement. The Judges themselves were uneasy. 
They represented that what they were required to do was in 
direct opposition to the plainest principles of law and justice : 
but all remonstrance was vain. The boroughs were command- 
ed to surrender their charters. Few complied ; and the course 
which the King took with those few did not encourage others to 
trust him. In several towns the right of voting was taken away 
from the commonalty, and given to a very small number of 
persons, who were required to bind themselves by oath to sup- 
port the candidates recommended by the government. At 
Tewkesbury, for example, the franchise was confined to thir- 
teen persons. Yet even this number was too large. Hatred 
and fear had spread so widely through the community that it 
was scarcely possible to bring together in any town, by any 
process of packing, thirteen men on whom the Court could ab- 
solutely depend. It was rumoured that the majority of the 
new constituent body of Tewkesbury was animated by the same 
sentiment which was general throughout the nation, and would, 
when the decisive day should arrive, send true Protestants to 
Parliament. The regulators in great wrath threatened to re- 
duce the number of electors to three.* Meanwhile the great 
majority of the boroughs firmly refused to give up their priv- 
ileges. Barnstaple, Winchester, and Buckingham, distinguish- 
ed themselves by the boldness of their opposition. At Oxford 
the motion that the city should resign its franchises to the 
King was negatived by eighty votes to two.f The Temple and 
* Johnstone, Feb. 21, 1688. t Van Citters, March 20-30, 1688. 


"Westminster Hall were in a ferment with the sudden rush of 
business from all corners of the kingdom. Every lawyer in 
high practice was overwhelmed with the briefs from corpora- 
tions. Ordinary litigants complained that their business was 
neglected.* It was evident that a considerable time must elapse 
before judgment could be given in so great a number of important 
cases. Tyranny could ill brook this delay. Nothing was 
omitted which could terrify the refractory boroughs into 
submission. At Buckingham some of the municipal officers 
had spoken of Jeffreys in language which was not laudatory. 
They were prosecuted, and were given to understand that no 
mercy should be shown to them unless they would ransom 
themselves by surrendering their charter.! At Winchester 
still more violent measures were adopted. A large body of 
troops was marched into the town for the sole purpose of bur- 
dening and harassing the inhabitants.^' The town continued res- 
olute ; and the public voice loudly accused the King of imita- 
ting the worst crimes of his brother of France. The dragonades, 
it was said, had begun. There was indeed reason for alarm. 
It had occurred to James that he could not more effectually 
break the spirit of an obstinate town than by quartering sol- 
diers on the inhabitants. He must have known that this prac- 
tice had sixty years before excited formidable discontents, and 
had been solemnly pronounced illegal by the Petition of Right, 
a statute scarcely less venerated by Englishmen than the Great 
Charter. But he hoped to obtain from the courts of law a dec- 
laration that even the Petition of Right could not control the 
prerogative. He actually consulted the Chief Justice of the 
King's Bench on this subject :§ but the result of the consultation 
remained secret ; and in a very few weeks the aspect of affairs 
became such that a fear stronger than the fear of the royal dis- 
pleasure began to impose some restraint even on the most ser- 
vile magistrates. 

While the Lords Lieutenants were questioning the Justices 
of the Peace, while the regulators were remodelling the bor- 

* Tan Citters, May 1-11, 1688. t Ibid. May 22, 

June 1. 

t Ibid. May 1-11, 1688. § Ibid. May 18-28, 1688. 


oughs, all the public departments were subjected to a strict in- 
quisition. Tke palace was first purified. Every battered old 
Cavalier, who, in return for blood and lands lost in the royal 
cause, had obtained some small place under the Keeper of the 
Wardrobe or the Master of the Harriers, was called upon to 
choose between the King and the Church. The Commission- 
ers of Customs and Excise were ordered to attend His Majesty 
at the Treasury. There he demanded from them a promise to 
support his policy, and directed them to require a similar prom- 
ise from all their subordinates.* One Customhouse officer 
notified his submission to the royal will in a way which excited 
both merriment and compassion. lt I have," he said, " fourteen 
reasons for obeying His Majesty's commands, a wife and thirteen 
young children." t Such reasons were indeed cogent ; yet there 
were not a few instances in which, even against such reasons, 
religious and patriotic feelings prevailed. 

There is ground to believe that the government at this time 
seriously meditated a blow which woulfl have reduced many 
thousands of families to beggary, and would have disturbed the 
whole social system of every part of the country. No wine, 
beer, or coffee could be sold without a license. It was rumour- 
ed that every person holding such a license would shortly be 
required to enter into the same engagements which had been 
imposed on public functionaries, or to relinquish his trade. t 
It seems certain that, if such a step had been taken, the houses 
of entertainment and of public resort all over the kingdom 
would have been at once shut up by hundreds. What effect 
such an interference with the comfort of all ranks would have 
produced must be left to conjecture. The resentment excited 
by grievances is not always proportioned to their dignity ; and 
it is by no means improbable that the resumption of licenses 
might have done what the resumption of charters had failed to 
do. Men of fashion would have missed the chocolate 
house in Saint James's Street, and men of business the 

* Van Citters, April 6-16, 1688 ; Treasury Letter Book, March 14, 1687-8 ; Ron- 
quillo, April 10-26. 

t Van Citters, May 18-28, 1688. X Ibid. May 18-28, 1688. 


coffee pot, round which they were accustomed to smoke and 
talk politics, in Change Alley. Half the clubs would have been 
wandering in search of shelter. The traveller at nightfall would 
have found the inn where he had expected to sup and lodge de- 
serted. The clown would have regretted the hedge alehouse, 
where he had been accustomed to take his pot on the bench be- 
fore the door in summer, and at the chimney corner in winter. 
The nation might, perhaps, on such provocation, have risen 
in general rebellion without waiting for the help of foreign 

• It was not to be expected that a prince who required all the 
humblest servants of the government to support his policy on 
pain of dismission would continue to employ an Attorney Gen- 
eral whose aversion to that policy was no secret. Sawyer had 
been suffered to retain his situation more than a year and a half 
after he had declared against the dispensing power. This ex- 
traordinary indulgence he owed to the extreme difficulty which 
the government found in supplying his place. It was necessary 
for the protection of the pecuniary interests of the crown, that 
at least one of the two chief law officers should be a man of abil- 
ity and knowledge ; and it was by no means easy to induce any 
barrister of ability and knowledge to put himself in peril by com- 
mitting every day acts which the next Parliament would proba- 
bly treat as high crimes and misdemeanours. It had been im- 
possible to procure a better Solicitor General than Powis, a man 
who indeed stuck at nothing, but who was incompetent to per- 
form the ordinary duties of his post. In these circumstances it 
was thought desirable that there should be a division of labour. 
An Attorney, the value of whose professional talents was much 
diminished by his conscientious scruples, was coupled with a So- 
licitor whose want of scruples made some amends for his want of 
talents. When the government wished to enforce the law, re- 
course was had to Sawyer. When the government wished to 
break the law, recourse was had to Powis. This arrangement 
lasted till the King was able to obtain the services of an advo- 
cate at once baser than Powis and abler than Sawyer. 

No barrister living had opposed the Court with more viru- 


lence than William Williams. He had distinguished himself in 
the late reign as a Whig and an P2xclusionist. When faction 
was at the height, he had been chosen Speaker of the House of 
Commons. After the prorogation of the Oxford Parliament he 
had commonly been counsel for the most noisy demagogues who 
had been accused of sedition. He was allowed to possess both 
parts and learning. His chief faults were supposed to be rash- 
ness and party spirit. It was not yet suspected that he had 
faults compared with which rashness and party spirit might well 
pass for virtues. The government sought occasion against him, 
and easily found it. He had published, by order of the House 
of Commons, a narrative which Dangerfield had written. This 
narrative, if published by a private man, would undoubtedly 
have been a seditious libel. A criminal information was filed 
in the King's Bench against Williams : he pleaded the privi- 
leges of Parliament in vain : he was convicted and sentenced to 
a fine of ten thousand pounds. A large part of this sum he act- 
ually paid : for the rest he gave a bond. The Earl of Peter- 
borough, who had been injuriously mentioned in Dangerfield's 
narrative, was encouraged, by the success of the criminal informa- 
tion, to bring a civil action, and to demand large damages. 
Williams was driven to extremity. At this juncture a way of 
escape presented itself. It was indeed a way which, to a man of 
strong principles or high spirit, would have been more dreadful 
than beggary, imprisonment, or death. He might sell himself to 
that government of which he had been the enemy and the vic- 
tim. He might offer to go on the forlorn hope in every assault 
on those liberties and on that religion for which he had profess- 
ed an inordinate zeal. He might expiate his Whiggism by per- 
forming services from which bigoted Tories, stained with the blood 
of Russell and Sidney, shrank in horror. The bargain was 
struck. The debt still due to the crown was remitted. Peter- 
borough was induced, by royal mediation, to compromise his ac- 
tion. Sawyer was dismissed. Powis became Attorney Gen- 
eral. Williams was made Solicitor, received the honour of 
knighthood, and was soon a favourite. Though in rank he was 
only the second law officer of the crown, his abilities, knowledge, 


and energy were such that he completely threw his superior into 
the shade** 

Williams had not been long in office when he was required 
to bear a chief part in the most memorable state trial recorded 
in the British annals. 

On the twenty-seventh of April 1688, the King put forth a 
second Declaration of Indulgence. In this paper he recited at 
length the Declaration of the preceding April. His past life, 
he said, ought to have convinced his people that he was not a 
person who could easily be induced to depart from any resolu- 
tion which he had formed. But, as designing men had attempted 
to persuade the world that he might be prevailed on to give 
way in this matter, he thought it necessary to proclaim that his 
purpose was immutably fixed, that he was resolved to employ 
those only who were prepared to concur in his design, and that 
lie had, in pursuance of that resolution, dismissed many of Lis 
disobedient servants from civil and military employments. He 
announced that he meant to hold a Parliament in November at 
the latest ; and he exhorted his subjects to choose representa- 
tives who would assist him in the great work which he had un- 
dertaken, f 

This Declaration at first produced little sensation. It con- 
tained nothing new ; and men wondered that the King should 
think it worth while to publish a solemn manifesto merely for 
the purpose of telling them that he had not changed his mind.$ 
Perhaps James was nettled by the indifference with which the 
announcement of his fixed resolution was received by the public, 
and thought that his dignity and authority would suffer unless 
he without delay did something novel and striking. On the 
fourth of May, accordingly, he made an Order in Council that 
his Declaration of the preceding week should be read, on two 

* London Gazette, December 15, 1087. See the proceedings against Williams 
in the Collection of State Trials. " Ha hecho," says Ronquillo. "grande susto 
el haber nombrado el abogado Williams, que fue el orador y el mas arrabiado do 
toda la casa des comunes en los ultimos terribles parlamentos del Key dif unto." 

g2i*. 1687, 
Dec. /, 

t London Gazette, April 30, 1688 ; Barillon, ~~p - 
t Van Citters, May 1-11, 1688. 


successive Sundays, at the time of divine service, by the officia- 
ting ministers of all the churches and chapels of the kingdom. 
In London and in the suburbs the reading was to take place on 
the twentieth and twenty-seventh of May, in other parts of 
England on the third and tenth of June. The Bishops were 
directed to distribute copies of the Declaration through their 
respective dioceses. * 

When it is considered that the clergy of the Established 
Church, with scarcely an exception, regarded the Indulgence as 
a violation of the laws of the realm, as a breach of the plighted 
faith of the King, and as a fatal blow levelled at the interest 
and dignity of their own profession, it will scarcely admit of 
doubt that the Order in Council was intended to be felt by them 
as a cruel affront. It was popularly believed that Petre had 
avowed this intention in a coarse metaphor borrowed from the 
rhetoric of the East. He would, he said, make them eat dirt, 
the vilest and most loathsome of all dirt. But, tyrannical and 
malignant as the mandate was, would the Anglican priesthood 
refuse to obey ? The King's temper was arbitrary and severe- 
The proceedings of the Ecclesiastical Commission were as sum- 
mary as those of a court martial. Whoever ventured to resist 
might in a week be ejected from his parsonage, deprived of his 
whole income, pronounced incapable of holding any other 
spiritual preferment, and left to beg from door to door. If, 
indeed, the whole body offered an united opposition to the royal 
will, it was probable that even James would scarcely venture to 
punish ten thousand delinquents at once. But there was not 
time to form an extensive combination. The Order in Council 
was gazetted on the seventh of May. On the twentieth the 
Declaration was to be read in all the pulpits of London and 
the neighbourhood. By no exertion was it possible in that age 
to ascertain within a fortnight the intentions of one tenth part 
of the parochial ministers who were scattered over the kingdom. 
It was not easy to collect in so short a time the sense even of 
the episcopal order. It might also well be apprehended that, 
if the clergy refused to read the Declaration, the Protestant 

* London Gazette, May 7, 1638. 


Dissenters would misinterpret the refusal, would despair of 
obtaining any toleration from the members of the Church of 
England, and would throw their whole weight into the scale of 
the Court. 

The clergy therefore hesitated ; and this hesitation may well 
be excused ; for some eminent laymen, who possessed a large 
share of the public confidence, were disposed to recommend 
submission. They thought that a general opposition could 
hardly be expected, and that a partial opposition would be ruin- 
ous to individuals, and of little advantage to the Church and to 
the nation. Such was the opinion given at this time by Halifax 
and Nottingham. The day drew near ; and still there was no 
concert and no formed resolution.* 

At this conjuncture the Protestant Dissenters of London 
won for themselves a title to the lasting gratitude of their coun- 
try. They had hitherto been reckoned by the government as 
part of its strength. A few of their most active and noisy 
preachers, corrupted by the favours of the Court, had got up 
addresses in favour of the King's policy. Others, estranged by 
the recollection of many cruel wrongs both from the Church of 
England and from the House of Stuart, had seen with resentful 
pleasure the tyrannical prince and the tyrannical hierarchy 
separated by a bitter enmity, and bidding against each other for 
the help of sects lately persecuted and despised. But this feel- 
ing, however natural, had been indulged long enough. The time 
had come when it was necessary to make a choice ; and the 
Nonconformists of the City, with a noble spirit, arrayed them- 
selves side by side with the members of the Church in defence 
of the fundamental laws of the realm. Baxter, Bates, and 
Howe distinguished themselves by their efforts to bring about 
this coalition : but the generous enthusiasm which pervaded the 
whole Puritan body made the task easy. The zeal of the flocks 
outran that of the pastors. Those Presbyterian and Indepen- 
dent teachers who showed an inclination to take part with the 
Ivincr asrainst the ecclesiastical establishment received distinct 
notice that, unless they changed their conduct, their congregations 

* Johnstone, May 27, 16S8. 


would neither hear them nor pay them. Alsop, who had flat- 
tered himself that he should be able to bring over a great body 
of his disciples to the royal side, found himself on a sudden an 
object of contempt and abhorrence to those who had lately re- 
vered him as their spiritual guide, sank into a deep melancholy, 
and hid himself from the public eye. Deputations waited on 
several of the London clergy imploring them not to judge of 
the dissenting body from the servile adulation which had lately 
filled the London Gazette, and exhorting them, placed as they 
were in the van of this great fight, to play the men for the 
liberties of England and for the faith delivered to the Saints. 
These assurances were received with joy and gratitude. Yet 
there was still much anxiety and much difference of opinion 
among those who had to decide whether, on Sunday the twen- 
tieth, they would or would not obey the King's command. The 
London clergy, then universally acknowledged to be the flower 
of their profession, held a meeting. Fifteen Doctors of Divinity 
were present. Tillotson, Dean of Canterbury, the most cele- 
brated preacher of the age, came thither from a sick bed. Sher- 
lock, Master of the Temple, Patrick, Dean of Peterborough 
and Rector of Saint Paul's, Covent Garden, and Stillingfleet, 
Archdeacon of London and Dean of Saint Paul's Cathedral, 
attended. The general feeling of the assembly seemed to be 
that it was, on the whole, advisable to obey the Order in Coun- 
cil. The dispute began to wax warm, and might have produced 
fatal consequences, if it had not been brought to a close by the 
firmness and wisdom of Doctor Edward Fowler, Vicar of Saint 
Giles's, Cripplegate, one of a small but remarkable class of 
divines who united that love of civil liberty which belonged to 
the school of Calvin with the theology of the school of Arminius.* 
Standing up, Fowler spoke thus : " I must be plain. The ques- 
tion is so simple that argument can throw no new light on it, 

* That very remarkable man, the late Alexander Knox, whose eloquent con- 
versation and elaborate letters had a great influence on the minds of his contem- 
poraries, learned, I suspect, much of his theological system from Fowler's writ- 
ings. Fowler's book on the Design of Christianity was assailed by John Bunyan 
with a ferocity which nothing can justify, but which the birth and breeding of the 
honest Tinker in some degree excuse- 


and can only beget heat. Let every man say Yes or No. But 
I cannot consent to be bound by the vote of the majority. I 
shall be sorry to cause a breach of unity. But this Declaration 
I cannot in conscience read." Tillotson, Patrick, Sherlock, and 
Stillingfleet declared that they were of the same mind. The 
majority yielded to the authority of a minority so respectable. 
A resolution by which all present pledged themselves to one an- 
other not to read the Declaration was then drawn up. Patrick 
was the first who set his hand to it ; Fowler was the second. The 
paper was sent round the City, and was speedily subscribed by 
eighty-five incumbents.* 

Meanwhile several of the Bishops were anxiously deliber- 
ating as to the course which they should take. On the twelfth 
of May a grave and learned company was assembled round the 
table of the Primate at Lambeth. Compton, Bishop of London, 
Turner, Bishop of Ely, White, Bishop of Peterborough, and 
Tenison, Rector of Saint Martin's Parish, were among: the 
guests. The Earl of Clarendon, a zealous and uncompromising 
friend of the Church, had been invited. Cartwright, Bishop of 
Chester, intruded himself on the meeting, probably as a spy. 
"While he remained, no confidential communication could take 
j^lace : but, after his departure, the great question of which all 
minds were full was propounded and discussed. The general 
opinion was that the Declaration ought not to be read. Letters 
were forthwith written to several of the most respectable pre- 
lates of the province of Canterbury, entreating them to come 
up without delay to London, and to strengthen the hands of 
their metropolitan at this conjuncture.! As there was little 
doubt that these letters would be opened if they passed through 
the office in Lombard Street, they were sent by horsemen to 
the nearest country post towns on the different roads. The 
Bishop of Winchester, whose loyalty had been so signally proved 
at Sedgemoor, though suffering from indisposition, resolved to 
set out in obedience to the summons, but found himself unable 

* Johnstone, May 23, 1688. There is a satirical poem on this meeting entitled 
the Clerical Cabal. 

t Clarendon's Diary, May 22, 1688. 


to bear the motion of a coach. The letter addressed to William 
Lloyd, Bishop of Norwich, was, in spite of all precautions, de- 
tained by a postmaster ; and that prelate, inferior to none 
of his brethren in courage and in zeal for the common cause of 
his order, did not reach London in time.* His namesake, Wil- 
liam Lloyd, Bishop of Saint Asaph, a pious, honest, and learned 
man, but of slender judgment, and half crazed by his persever- 
ing endeavours to extract from the Book of Daniel and from the 
Revelations some information about the Pope and the King of 
France, hastened to the capital and arrived on the sixteenth. f 
On the following day came the excellent Ken, Bishop of Bath 
and Wells, Lake, Bishop of Chichester, and Sir John Trelawney, 
Bishop of Bristol, a baronet of an old and honourable Cornish 

On the eighteenth a meeting of prelates and of other emi- 
nent divines was held at Lambeth. Tillotson, Tenison, Stil- 
lingileet, Patrick, and Sherlock were present. Prayers were 
solemnly read before the consultation began. After long deliber- 
ation, a petition embodying the general sense was written by 
the Archbishop with his own hand. It was not drawn up with 
much felicity of style. Indeed, the cumbrous and inelegant 
structure of the sentences brought on Sancroft some raillery, 
which he bore with less patience than he showed under much 
heavier trials. But in substance nothing could be more skil- 
fully framed than this memorable document. All disloyalty, 
all intolerance, was earnestly disclaimed. The King was as- 
sured that the Church still was, as she had ever been, faithful 
to the throne. He was assured also that the Bishops would, in 
proper place and time, as Lords of Parliament and members of 
the Upper House of Convocation, show that they by no means 
wanted tenderness for the conscientious scruples of Dissenters. 
But Parliament had, both in the late and in the present reign, 
pronounced that the sovereign was not constitutionally com- 
petent to dispense with statutes in matters ecclesiastical. The 

* Extracts from Tanner MSS. in Howell's State Trials ; Life of Prideaux ; 
Clarendon's Diary, May 1G and 17, 1688. 
t Clarendon's Diary, May 16 and 17, 1688. 


Declaration was therefore illegal; and the petitioners could 
not, in prudence, honour, or conscience, be parties to the solemn 
publishing of an illegal Declaration in the house of God, and 
during the time of divine service. 

This paper was signed by the Archbishop and by six of his 
suffragans, Lloyd of Saint Asaph, Turner of Ely, Lake of 
Chichester, Ken of Bath and Wells, White of Peterborough 
and Trelawney of Bristol. The Bishop of London, being un- 
der suspension, did not sign. 

It was now late on Friday evening ; and on Sunday rnorn^ 
ing the Declaration was to be read in the churches of Lon- 
don. It was necessary to put the paper into the King's hands 
without delay. The six Bishops crossed the river to Whitehall. 
The Archbishop, who had long been forbidden the Court, did 
not accompany them. Lloyd, leaving his five brethren at the 
House of Lord Dartmouth in the vicinity of the palace, went to 
Sunderland, and begged that minister to read the petition, and 
to ascertain when the King would be willing to receive it. Sun- 
derland, afraid of compromising himself, refused to look at the 
paper, but went immediately to the royal closet. James direct- 
ed that the Bishops should be admitted. He had heard from his 
tool Cartwright that they were disposed to obey the royal man- 
date, but that they wished for some little modifications in form, 
and that they meant to present a humble request to that effect. 
His Majesty was therefore in very good humour. When they 
knelt before him, he graciously told them to rise, took the paper 
from Lloyd, and said, " This is my Lord of Canterbury's hand." 
" Yes, sir, his own hand," was the answer. James read the pe- 
tition : he folded it up ; and his countenance grew dark. " This," 
he said, fc is a great surprise to me. I did not expect this from 
your Church, especially from some of you. This is a standard 
of rebellion." The Bishops broke out into passionate professions 
of loyalty : but the King, as usual, repeated the same words over 
and over. " I tell you, this is a standard of rebellion." " Re- 
bellion ! " cried Trelawney, falling on his knees. " For God's 
sake, sir, do not say so hard a thing of us. No Trelawney can 
be a rebel. Remember that my family has fought for the crown. 


Remember how I served your Majesty when Monmouth was in 
the West." " We put down the last rebellion," said Lake : " we 
shall not raise another." iC We rebel ! " exclaimed Turner ; " we 
are ready to die at your Majesty's feet." " Sir," said Ken, in a 
more manly tone, " I hope that you will grant to us that liberty 
of conscience which you grant to all mankind." Still James 
went on. " This is rebellion. This is a standard of rebellion. 
Did ever a good Churchman question the dispensing power be- 
fore ? Have not some of you preached for it and written for it ? 
It is a standard of rebellion. I will have my Declaration pub* 
lished." " We have two duties to perform," answered Ken, " our 
duty to God, and our duty to your Majesty. We honour you : 
but we fear God." " Have I deserved this ? " said the King, 
more and more angry : "I who have been such a friend to your 
Church ? I did not expect this from some of you. I will be 
obeyed. My Declaration shall be published. You are trum- 
peters of sedition. What do you do here ? Go to your dio- 
ceses ; and see that I am obeyed. I will keep this paper. I will 
not part with it. I will remember you that have signed it." 
" God's will be done," said Ken. " God has given me the dis- 
pensing power," said the King, " and I will maintain it. I tell 
you that there are still seven thousand of your Church who have 
not bowed the knee to Baal." The Bishops respectfully re- 
tired.* That very evening the document which they had put 
into the hands of the King appeared word for word in print, was 
laid on the tables of all the coffeehouses, and was cried about the 
streets. Everywhere the people rose from their beds, and came 
up to stop the hawkers. It was said that the printer cleared a 
thousand pounds in a few hours by this penny broadside. This 
is probably an exaggeration ; but it is an exaggeration which 
proves that the sale was enormous. How the petition got 
abroad is still a mystery. Sancroft declared that he had taken 
every precaution against publication, and that he knew of no copy 
except that which he had himself written, and which James had 
taken out of Lloyd's hand. The veracity of the Archbishop is 

* Sancroft's Narrative, printed from the Tanner MSS. : Van Citters, J .. : . ny 2 ? -' 
' r ' June 1» 



beyond all suspicion. But it is by no means improbable that 
some of the divines who assisted in framing the petition may have 
remembered so short a composition accurately, and may have 
sent it to the press. The prevailing opinion, however, was that 
some person about the King had been indiscreet or treacherous.* 
Scarcely less sensation was produced by a short letter which was 
written with great power of argument and language, printed se- 
cretly, and largely circulated on the same day by the post and 
by the common carriers. A copy was sent to every clergyman 
in the kingdom. The writer did not attempt to disguise the dan- 
ger which those who disobeyed the royal mandate would incur : 
but he set forth in a lively manner the still greater danger of 
submission. " If we read the Declaration," said he," we fall to 
rise no more. We fall unpitied and despised. We fall amidst 
the curses of a nation whom our compliance will have ruined." 
Some thought that this paper came from Holland. Others at- 
tributed it to Sherlock. But Prideaux, Dean of Norwich, who 
was a principal agent in distributing it, believed it to be the 
work of Halifax. 

The conduct of the prelates was rapturously extolled by the 
general voice : but some murmurs were heard. It was said that 
such grave men, if they thought themselves bound in conscience 
to remonstrate with the King, ought to have remonstrated earlier. 
Was it fair to leave him in the dark till within thirty-six hours 
of the time fixed for the reading of the Declaration ? Even if 
he wished to revoke the Order in Council, it was too late to do 
so. The inference seemed to be that the petition was intended, 
not to move the royal mind, but merely to inflame the discon- 
tents of the people.f These complaints were utterly groundless. 
The King had laid on the Bishops a command new, surprising, 
and embarrassing. It was their duty to communicate with each 
other, and to ascertain as far as possible the sense of the profes- 
sion of which they were the heads before they took any step. 
Thev were dispersed over the whole kingdom. Some of them 
were distant from others a full week's journey. James allowed 

* Burnet, i. 741 ; Revolution Politics ; Higgins's Short View, 
t Life of James the Second, ii. 155. 


them only a fortnight to inform themselves, to meet, to deliber- 
ate, and to decide ; and he surely had no right to think himself 
aggrieved because that fortnight was drawing to a close before 
he learned their decision. Nor is it true that they did not leave 
him time to revoke his order if he had been wise enough to do 
so. He might have called together his Council on Saturday 
morning, and before night it might have been known throughout 
London and the suburbs that he had yielded to the entreaties of 
the fathers of the Church. The Saturday, however, passed over 
without any sign of relenting on the part of the government ; 
and the Sunday arrived, a day long remembered. 

In the City and Liberties of London were about a hundred 
parish churches. In only four of these was the Order in Council 
obeyed. At Saint Gregory's the Declaration was read by a 
divine of the name of Martin. As soon as he uttered the first 
words, the whole congregation rose and withdrew. At Saint 
Matthew's, in Friday Street, a wretch named Timothy Hall, who 
had disgraced his gown by acting as broker for the Duchess of 
Portsmouth in the sale of pardons, and who now had hopes of 
obtaining the vacant bishopric of Oxford, was in like manner 
left alone in his church. At Serjeant's Inn, in Chancery Lane, 
the clerk pretended that he had forgotten to bring a copy ; and 
the Chief Justice of the King's Bench, who had attended in order 
to see that the royal mandate was obeyed, was forced to content 
himself with this excuse. Samuel Wesley, the father of John 
and Charles Wesley, a curate in London, took for his text that 
day the noble answer of the three Jews to the Chaldean tyrant, 
'• Be it known unto thee, O King, that we will not serve thy 
gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." 
Even in the chapel of Saint James's Palace the officiating 
minister had the courage to disobey the order. The West- 
minster boys long remembered what took place that day in 
the Abbey. Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, officiated there as 
Dean. As soon as he began to read the Declaration, murmurs 
and the noise of people crowding out of the choir drowned his 
voice. He trembled so violently that men saw the paper shake 
in his hand. Long before he had finished, the place was de- 
Vol, II.— 21 


serted by all but those whose situation made it necessary for 
them to remain.* 

Never had the Church been so dear to the nation as on the 
afternoon of that day. The Spirit of dissent seemed to be extinct. 
Baxter from his pulpit pronounced an eulogium on the Bishops 
and parochial clergy. The Dutch minister, a few hours later, 
wrote to inform the States General that the Anglican priesthood 
had risen in the estimation of the public to an incredible degree. 
The universal cry of the Nonconformists, he said, was that they 
would rather continue to lie under the penal statutes than separ- 
ate their cause from that of the prelates,! 

Another week of anxiety and agitation passed away. Sunday 
came again. Again the churches of the capital were thronged 
by hundreds of thousands. The Declaration was read nowhere 
except at the very few places where it had been read the week 
before. The minister who had officiated at the chapel in Saint 
James's Palace had been turned out of his situation : a more 
obsequious divine appeared with the paper in his hand : but his 
agitation was so great that he could not articulate. In truth the 
feeling of the whole nation had now become such as none but 
the very best and noblest, or the very worst and basest, of man- 
kind could without much discomposure encounter. $ 

Even the King stood aghast for a moment at the violence 
of the tempest which he had raised. What step was he next 
to take ? He must either advance or recede : and it was im- 
possible to advance without peril, or to recede without humilia- 
tion. At one moment he determined to put forth a second 
order enjoining the clergy in high and angry terms to publish 
his Declaration, and menacing every one who should be re- 
fractory with instant suspension. This order was drawn up 
and sent to the press, then recalled, then a second time sent 
to the press, then recalled a second time.§ A different plan 

* Van Citters, ^Z^i 1688 ; Burnet, i. 740 : and Lord Dartmouth's note j 

June 1, ' ' ' 

Southey's Life of Wesley. 

t Van Citters. "£»■ 1688. $ Ibid. "SLjL 1688. 

June 1, Juoe. £« 

§ Van Citters, &*?&* iggg, 
J June 8, 


was suggested by some of those who were for rigorous meas- 
ures. The prelates who had signed the petition might be 
cited before the Ecclesiastical Commission and deprived of their 
sees. But to this course strong objections were urged in Coun- 
cil. It had been announced that the Houses would be convoked 
before the end of the year. The Lords would assuredly treat 
the sentence of deprivation as a nullity, would insist that San- 
croft and his fellow petitioners should be summoned to Parlia- 
ment, and would refuse to acknowledge a new Archbishop of 
Canterbury or a new Bishop of Bath and AVells. Thus the 
session, which at best was likely to be sufficiently stormy, would 
commence with a deadly quarrel between the crown and the 
peers. If therefore it were thought necessary to punish the 
Bishops, the punishment ought to be inflicted according to the 
known course of English law. Sunderland had from the begin- 
ning objected, as far as he dared, to the Order in Council. He 
now suggested a course which, though not free from inconve- 
niences, was the most prudent and the most dignified that a series 
of errors had left open to the government. The King might 
with grace and majesty announce to the world that he was 
deeply hurt by the undutiful conduct of the Church of England ; 
but that he could not forget all the services rendered by that 
Church, in trying times, to his father, to his brother, and to him- 
self ; that, as a friend to the liberty of conscience, he was un- 
willing to deal severely with men whom conscience, ill informed 
indeed, and unreasonably scrupulous, might have prevented 
from obeying his commands ; and that he would therefore leave 
the offenders to that punishment which their own reflections 
would inflict whenever they should calmly compare their recent 
acts with the loyal doctrines of which they had so loudly boasted. 
Not only Powis and Bellasyse, who had always been for mod- 
erate counsels, but even Dover and Arundell, leaned towards 
this proposition. Jeffreys, on the other hand, maintained that 
the government would be disgraced if such transgressors as the 
seven Bishops were suffered to escape with a mere reprimand. 
He did not, however, wish them to be cited before the Ecclesi- 
astical Commission, in which he sate as chief or rather as sole 


Judge. For the load of public hatred under which he already 
lay was too much even for his shameless forehead and obdurate 
heart ; and he shrank from the responsibility which he would 
have incurred by pronouncing an illegal sentence on the rulers 
of the Church and the favourites of the nation. He therefore 
recommended a criminal information. It was accordingly re- 
solved that the Archbishop and the six other petitioners should 
be brought before the Court of King's Bench on a charge of 
seditious libel. That they would be convicted it was scarcely 
possible to doubt. The Judges and their officers were tools of 
the Court. Since the old charter of the City of London had 
been forfeited, scarcely one prisoner whom the government was 
bent on bringing to punishment had been absolved by a jury. 
The refractory prelates would probably be condemned to ruinous 
fines and to long imprisonment, and would be glad to ransom 
themselves by serving, both in and out of Parliament, the 
designs of the Sovereign.* 

On the twenty-seventh of May it was notified to the Bishops 
that on the eighth of June they must appear before the King in 
Council. Why so long an interval was allowed we are not in- 
formed. Perhaps James hoped that some of the offenders, ter- 
rified by his displeasure, might submit before the day fixed for 
the reading of the Declaration in their dioceses, and might, in 
order to make their peace with him, persuade their clergy to 
obey his order. If such was his hope it was signally disap- 
pointed. Sunday the third of June came ; and all parts of 
England followed the example of the capital. Already the 
Bishops of Norwich, Gloucester, Salisbury, Winchester, and 
Exeter had signed copies of the petition in token of their ap- 
probation. The Bishop of Worcester had refused to distribute 
the Declaration among his clergy. The Bishop of Hereford 
had distributed it : but it was generally understood that he was 
overwhelmed by remorse and shame for having done so. Not 
one parish priest in fifty complied with the Order in Council. 
In the great diocese of Chester, including the county of Lan- 

• **™°°' g$ £$ ™ ■ v - Citters - ™ »-» ■• Aid *' ££ & 

June 1-11 ; Life of James the Second ii. 158. 


caster, only three clergymen could be prevailed on by Cart- 
wright to obey the King. In the diocese of Norwich are many 
hundreds of parishes. In only four of these was the Declara- 
tion read. The courtly Bishop of Rochester could not over- 
come the scruples of the minister of the ordinary of Chatham, 
who depended on the government for bread. There is still 
extant a pathetic letter which this honest priest sent to the 
Secretary of the Admiralty. " I cannot," he wrote, " reasonably 
expect Your Honour's protection. God's will be done. I must 
choose suffering rather than sin." * 

On the evening of the eighth of June the seven prelates, fur- 
nished by the ablest lawyers in England with full advice, re- 
paired to the palace, and were called into the Council chamber. 
Their petition was lying on the table. The Chancellor took 
the paper up, showed it to the Archbishop, and said, " Is this 
the paper which your Grace wrote, and which the six Bishops 
present delivered to His Majesty?" Sancroft looked at the 
paper, turned to the King, and spoke thus : " Sir, I stand here 
a culprit. I never was so before. Once I little thought that 
I ever should be so. Least of all could I think that I should be 
charged with any offence against my King : but, since I am so 
unhappy as to be in this situation, Your Majesty will not be 
offended if I avail myself of my lawful right to decline saying 
anything which may criminate me." " This is mere chicanery," 
said the King. "I hope that Your Grace will not do so ill a 
thing as to deny your own hand." " Sir," said Lloyd, whose 
studies had been much among the casuists, " all divines agree 
that a person situated as we are may refuse to answer such 
a question." The King, as slow of understanding as quick of 
temper, could not comprehend what the prelates meant. He 
persisted, and was evidently becoming very angry. " Sir," said 
the Archbishop, " I am not bound to accuse myself. Neverthe- 
less, if Your Majesty positively commands me to answer, I will 
do so in the confidence that a just and generous prince will not 
suffer what I say in obedience to his orders to be brought in 

* Burnet, i. 740 ; Life of Prideaux ; Van Citters, June 12-22, 1688; Tanner 
MSS. ; Life and Correspondence of Pepys. 


evidence against me." " You must not capitulate with your 
Sovereign," said the Chancellor, " No," said the King ; " I will 
not give any such command. If you choose to deny your own 
hands, I have nothing more to say to you." 

The Bishops were repeatedly sent out into the antechamber, 
and repeatedly called back into the Council room. At length 
James positively commanded them to answer the question. He 
did not expressly engage that their confession should not be used 
against them. But they, not unnaturally, supposed that, after 
what had passed, such an engagement was implied in his com- 
mand. Sancroft acknowledged his handwriting ; and his brethren 
followed his example. They were then interrogated about the 
meaning of some words in the petition, and about the letter 
which had been circulated with so much effect all over the king- 
dom : but their language was so guarded that nothing was 
gained by the examination. The Chancellor then told them 
that a criminal information would be exhibited against them in 
the Court of King's Bench, and called upon them to enter into 
recognisances. They refused. They were peers of Parlia- 
ment, they said. They were advised by the best lawyers in 
Westminster Hall that no peer could be required to enter into 
a recognisance in a case of libel; and they should not think 
themselves justified in relinquishing the privilege of their order. 
The King was so absurd as to think himself personally affronted 
because they chose, on a legal question, to be guided by legal 
advice. u You believe every body," he said, " rather than me." 
He was indeed mortified and alarmed. For he had gone so far 
that, if they persisted, he had no choice left but to send them to 
prison ; and, though he by no means foresaw all the consequences 
of such a step, he foresaw probably enough to disturb him. 
They were resolute. A warrant was therefore made out 
directing the Lieutenant of the Tower to keep them in safe 
custody, and a barge was manned to convey them down the 

It was known all over London that the Bishops were before 
the Council. The public anxiety was intense. A great multi- 
* Saucroft's Narrative, printed from the Tanner MSS. 


tude filled the courts of Whitehall and all the neighbouring 
streets. Many people were in the habit of refreshing themselves 
at the close of a summer day with the cool air of the Thames. 
But on this evening the whole river was alive with wherries. 
When the Seven came forth under a guard, the emotions of the 
people broke through all restraint. Thousands fell on their 
knees ana prayed aloud for the men who had, with the Christian 
courage of Ridley and Latimer, confronted a tyrant inflamed 
by all the bigotry of Mary. Many dashed into the stream, and, 
up to the waists in ooze and water, cried to the holy fathers to 
bless the** 1 -- All down the river, from Whitehall to London 
Bridge, the royal barge passed between lines of boats, from 
which, arose a shout of " God bless Your Lordships.*' The 
King, ?u great alarm, gave orders that the garrison of the Tower 
should he doubled, that the Guards should be held ready for 
action, and that two companies should be detached from every 
regiment in the kingdom, and sent up instantly to London. 
But *he force on which he relied as the means of coercing the 
people shared all the feelings of the people. The very sentinels 
who were posted at the Traitors' Gate reverently asked for a 
blessing from the martyrs whom they were to guard. Sir Ed- 
ward Hales was Lieutenant of the Tower. He was little in- 
clined to treat his prisoners with kindness. For he was an 
apostate from that church for which they suffered; and he held 
several lucrative posts by virtue of that dispensing power against 
which they had protested. He learned with indignation that 
his soldiers were drinking the health*of the Bishops. He or- 
dered his officers to see that it was done no more. But the 
officers came back with a report that the thing could not be pre- 
vented, and that no other health was drunk in the garrison. 
Nor was it only by carousing that the troops showed their rev- 
erence for the fathers of the Church. There was such a show 
of devotion throughout the Tower that pious men thanked God 
for bringing good out of evil, and for making the persecution of 
His faithful servants the means of saving many souls. All day 
the coaches and liveries of the first nobles of England were 
seen round the prison gates. Thousands of humbler spectators 


coDstantly covered Tower Hill.* But among the marks of pub- 
lic respect and sympathy which the prelates received there was 
one which more than all the rest enraged and alarmed the Kinsr. 
lie learned that a deputation of ten Nonconformist ministers 
had visited the Tower. He sent for four of these persons, and 
himself upbraided them. They courageously answered that 
they thought it their duty to forget past quarrels, and to stand 
by the men who stood by the Protestant religion. f 

Scarcely had the gates of the Tower been closed on the 
prisoners when an event took place which increased the public 
excitement. It had been announced that the Queen did not 
expect to be confined till July. But, on the day after the 
Bishops had appeared before the Council, it was observed that 
the King seemed to be anxious about her state. In the evening, 
however, she sate playing cards at Whitehall till near midnight. 
Then she was carried in a sedan to Saint James's Palace, where 
apartments had been very hastily fitted up for her reception. 
Soon messengers were running about in all directions to sum- 
mon physicians and priests, Lords of the Council, and Ladies 
of the Bedchamber. In a few hours many public functionaries 
and women of rank were assembled in the Queen's room. 
There, on the morning of Sunday, the tenth of June, a day 
long kept sacred by the too faithful adherents of a bad cause, 
was bo n the most unfortunate of princes, destined to seventy- 
seven years of exile and wandering, of vain projects, of hon- 
ours more galling than insults, and of hopes such as make the 
heart sick. ■ 

The calamities of the poor child had begun before his birth. 
The nation over which, according to the ordinary course of 
succession, he would have reigned, was fully persuaded that his 
mother was not really pregnant. By whatever evidence 
the fact of his birth had been proved, a considerable number of 
people would probably have persisted in maintaining that the 
Jesuits had practised some skilful sleight of hand ; and the evi- 

* Burnet, i. 741 ; Van Citters. June 8-18, 12-22, 1688 ; Luttrell's Diary, June 8 ; 
Evelyn's Diary ; Letter of Dr. Nalson to his wife, dated June 14, and printed 
from the Tanner MSS. ; Reresby's Memoirs. 
• t Reresby's Memoirs. 


dence, partly from accident, partly from gross mismanagement, 
was really open to some objections. Many persons of both sexes 
were in the royal bedchamber when the child first saw the light , 
but none of them enjoyed any large measure of public confidence. 
Of the Privy Councillors present, half were Roman Catholics ; 
and those who called themselves Protestants were generally 
regarded as traitors to their country and their God. Many 
of the women in attendance were French, Italian, and 
Portuguese. Of the English ladies some were Papists, and 
some were the wives of Papists. Some persons who were 
peculiarly entitled to be present, and whose testimony would 
have satisfied all minds accessible to reason, were absent ; 
and for their absence the King was held responsible. The 
Princess Anne was, of all the inhabitants of the island, the most 
deeply interested in the event. Her sex and her experience 
qualified her to act as the guardian of her sister's birthright and 
her own. She had conceived strong suspicions, which were 
dailv confirmed by circumstances triflin<j or imaginary. She 
fancied that the Queen carefully shunned her scrutiny, and as- 
cribed to guilt a reserve which was perhaps the effect of deli- 
cacy.* In this temper Anne had determined to be present and 
vigilant when the critical day should arrive. But she had not 
thought it necessary to be at her post a month before that day, 
and had, in compliance, it was said, with her father's advice, 
gone to drink the Bath waters. Sancroft, whose great place 
made it his duty to attend, and on whose probity the nation 
placed entire reliance, had a few hours before been sent to the 
Tower by James. The Hydes were the proper protectors of 
the rights of the two Princesses. The Dutch Ambassador 
might be regarded as the representative of William, who, as 
first prince of the blood and consort of the King's eldest dau*h- 
ter, had a deep interest in what was passing. James never 
thought ot summoning any member, male or female, of the 
family of Hyde • nor was the Dutch Ambassador invited to be 

* Correspondence between Anne and Mary, in Dalrymple , Clarendon's Diary, 
Oct. 31, 1GS8. 


Posterity has fully acquitted the King of the fraud which 
his people imputed to him. But it is impossible to acquit him 
of folly and perverseness such as explain and excuse the error 
of his contemporaries. He was perfectly aware of the suspi- 
cions which were abroad.* He ought to have known that those 
suspicions would not be dispelled by the evidence of members of 
the Church of Rome, or of persons who, though they might call 
themselves members of the Church of England, had shown them- 
selves ready to sacrifice the interests of the Church of England 
in order to obtain his favour. That he was taken by surprise is 
true. But he had twelve hours to make his arrangements. He 
found no difficulty in crowding St. James's Palace with bigots 
and sycophants on whose word the nation placed no reliance. It 
would have been quite as easy to procure the attendance of 
some eminent persons whose attachment to the Princesses and 
to the established religion was unquestionable. 

At a later period, when he had paid dearly for his foolhardy 
contempt of public opinion, it was the fashion at Saint Ger- 
main's to excuse him by throwing the blame on others. Some 
Jacobites charged Anne with having purposely kept out of the 
way. Nay, they were not ashamed to say that Sancroft had 
provoked the King to send him to the Tower, in order that the 
evidence which was to confound the calumnies of the malecon- 
tents might be defective. f The absurdity of these imputations 
is palpable. Could Anne or Sancroft possibly have foreseen 
that the Queen's calculations would turn out to be erroneous by 
a whole month ? Had those calculations been correct, Anne 
would have been back from Bath, and Sancroft would have been 
out of the Tower, in ample time for the birth. At all events, 
the maternal uncles of the King's daughters were neither at a 
distance nor in a prison. The same messenger who summoned 
the whole bevy of renegades, Dover, Peterborough, Murray, 
Sunderland, and Mulgrave, could just as easily have summoned 
Clarendon. If they were Privy Councillors, so was he. His 
house was in Jermyn Street, not two hundred yards from tho 

* This is clear from Clarendon's Diary, Oct. 31, 1688. 

* Life of James the Second, ii. 159, 160. 


chamber of the Queen. Yet he was left to learn at St. James's 
Church, from the agitation and whispers of the congregation, 
that his niece had ceased to be heiress presumptive of the crown.* 
"Was it a disqualification that he was the near kinsman of the 
Princesses of Orange and Denmark ? Or was it a disqualification 
that he was unalterably attached to the Church of England ? 

The cry of the whole nation was that an imposture had 
been practised. Papists had, during some months, been pre- 
dicting, from the pulpit and through the press, in prose and 
verse, in English and Latin, that a Prince of "Wales would be 
given to the prayers of the Church ; and they had now accom- 
plished their own prophecy. Every witness who could not be 
corrupted or deceived had been studiously excluded. Anne had 
been tricked into visiting Bath. The Primate had, on the very 
day preceding that which had been fixed for the villany, been 
sent to prison in defiance of the rules of law and of the privi- 
leges of peerage. Not a single man or woman who had the 
smallest interest in detecting the fraud had been suffered to be 
present. The Queen had been removed suddenly and at the 
dead of night to Saint James's Palace, because that building, 
less commodious for honest purposes than Whitehall, had some 
rooms and passages well suited for the purpose of the Jesuits. 
There, amidst a circle of zealots who thought nothing a crime 
that tended to promote the interests of their Church, and of 
courtiers who thought nothing a crime that tended to enrich and 
a^nrrandise themselves, a new born child had been introduced, 
by means of a warming pan, into the royal bed, and then handed 
round in triumph, as heir of three kingdoms. Heated by such 
suspicions, suspicions unjust, it is true, but not altogether un- 
natural, men thronged more eagerly than ever to pay their hom- 
age to the saintly victims of the tyrant, who, having long 
foully injured his people, had now filled up the measure of his 
iniquities by more foully injuring his children. f 

* Clarendon's Diary, June 10, 1GS8. 

t Johnstone gives in a very few words an excellent summary of the case 
against the King. " The generality of people conclude all is a trick ; because 
they say the reckoning is changed, the Princess sent away, none of the Clarendon 
family nor the Dutch Ambassador sent for, the suddenness of the thing, the ser- 
mons, the confidence of the priests, the hurry." June 13, 1G88. 


The Prince of Orange, not himself suspecting any trick, and 
not aware of the state of public feeling in England, ordered 
prayers to be said under his own roof for his little brother in 
law, and sent Zulestein to London with a formal message of con- 
gratulation. Zulestein, to his amazement, found all the people 
whom he met opened mouthed about the infamous fraud just 
committed by the Jesuits, and saw every hour some fresh pas- 
quinade on the pregnancy and the delivery. He soon wrote to 
the Hague that not one person in ten believed the child to have 
been born of the Queen. # 

The demeanour of the seven prelates meanwhile strength- 
ened the interest which their situation excited. On the evening 
of the Black Friday, as it was called, on which they were com- 
mitted, they reached their prison just at the hour of divine service. 
They instantly hastened to the chapel. It chanced that in the 
second lesson were these words : " In all things approving our- 
selves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, 
in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments." All zealous Church- 
men were delighted by this coincidence, and remembered how 
much comfort a similar coincidence had given, near forty years 
before, to Charles the First at the time of his death. 

On the evening of the next day, Saturday the ninth, a letter 
came from Sunderland enjoining the chaplain of the Tower to 
read the Declaration during divine service on the following 
morning. As the time fixed by the Order in Council for the 
reading in London had long expired, this proceeding of the 
government could be considered only as a personal insult of the 
meanest and most childish kind to the venerable prisoners. The 
chaplain refused to comply ; he was dismissed from his situation ; 
and the chapel was shut up.t 

The Bishops edified all who approached them by the firm- 
ness and cheerfulness with which they endured confinement, by 
the modesty and meekness with which they received the applauses 
and blessings of the whole nation, and by the loyal attachment 

*Eonquillo, Jnl -L 2 i' Eonquillo adds, that what Zulestein said of the state of 

Aug. 5. 
public opinion was strictly true, 
t Van Citters, June 12-22, 1688 ; Luttrell's Diary, June 18. 


which they professed for the persecutor who sought their de- 
struction. They remained only a week in custody. On Friday, 
the fifteenth of June, the first day of term, they were brought 
before the King's Bench. An immense throng awaited their 
coming. From the lundingplace to the Court of Requests they 
passed through a lane of spectators who blessed and applauded 
them. "Friends," said the prisoners as they passed, "honour 
the King ; and remember us in your prayers." These humble 
and pious expressions moved the hearers even to tears. When 
at length the procession had made its way through the crowd 
into the presence of the Judges, the Attorney General exhibited 
the information which he had been commanded to prepare, and 
moved that the defendants might be ordered to plead. The 
counsel on the other side objected that the Bishops had been 
unlawfully committed, and were therefore not regularly before 
the Court. The question whether a peer could be required to 
enter into recognisances on a charge of libel was argued at great 
length, and decided by a majority of the Judges in favour of 
the crown. The prisoners then pleaded Not Guilty. That day 
fortnight, the twenty-ninth of June, was fixed for their trial. In 
the meantime they were allowed to be at large on their own re- 
cognisances. The crown lawyers acted prudently in not requir- 
ing sureties. For Halifax had arranged that twenty-one temporal 
peers of the highest consideration should be ready to put in bail, 
three for each defendant ; and such a manifestation of the feel- 
ing of the nobility would have been no slight blow to the govern- 
ment. It was also known that one of the most opulent Dissenters 
of the City had begged that he might have the honour of giving 
security for Ken. 

The Bishops were now permitted to depart to their own 
homes. The common people, who did not understand the na- 
ture of the legal proceedings which had taken place in the King's 
Bench, and who saw that their favourites had been brought to 
Westminster Hall in custody and were suffered to go away in 
freedom, imagined that the good cause was prospering. Loud 
acclamations were raise". The steeples of the churches sent 
forth joyous peals. Sprat was amazed to hear the bells of his 


own Abbey ringing merrily. lie promptly silenced them ; but 
his interference caused much angry muttering. The Bishops 
found it difficult to escape from the importunate crowd of their 
well wishers. Lloyd was detained in Palace Yard by admirers 
who struggled to touch his hands and to kiss the skirt of his 
robe, till Clarendon, with some difficulty, rescued him and con- 
veyed him home by a bypath. Cartwright, it is said, was so 
unwise as to mingle with the crowd. A person who saw his 
episcopal habit asked and received his blessing. A bystander 
cried out, " Do you know who blessed you? " " Surely," said 
he who had just been honoured by the benediction, " it was one 
of the Seven." " No," said the other, " it is the Popish Bishop 
of Chester." "Popish dog," cried the enraged Protestant: 
u take your blessing back again." 

Such was the concourse, and such the agitation, that the 
Dutch Ambassador was surprised to see the day close without 
an insurrection. The King had been anxious and irritable. In 
order that he might be ready to suppress any disturbance, he 
had passed the morning in reviewing several battalions of infan- 
try in Hyde Park. It is, however, by no means certain that his 
troops would have stood by him if he had needed their services. 
When Sancroft readied Lambeth, in the afternoon, he found the 
footguards, who were quartered in that suburb, assembled before 
the gate of his palace. They formed in two lines on his right 
and left, and asked his benediction as he went through them. 
He with difficulty prevented them from lighting a bonfire in hon- 
our of his return to his dwelling. There were, however, many 
bonfires that evening in the City. Two Roman Catholics, who 
were so indiscreet as to beat some boys for joining in these re- 
joicings, were seized by the mob, stripped naked, and ignominious- 
ly branded.* 

Sir Edward Hales now came to demand fees from those who 
had lately been his prisoners. They refused to pay anything for 
a detention which they regarded as illegal to an officer whose 
commission was, on their principles, a nullity. The Lieuten- 

* For the events of this day see the State Trials ; Clarendon's Diary ; LuttreP.'s 
Diary ; Van Citters, June 15-25 ; Johnstone, June 18 ; Revolution Politics. 


ant hinted very intelligibly that, if they came into his hands 
a^ain, they should be put into heavy irons and should lie on bare 
stones. " We are under our King's displeasure," was the an- 
swer ; '• and most deeply do we feel it : but a fellow subject who 
threatens us does but lose his breath." It is easy to imagine 
with what indignation the people, excited as they were, must 
have learned that a renegade from the Protestant faith, who held 
a command in defiance of the fundamental laws of England, had 
dared to menace divines of venerable age and dignity with all 
the barbarities of Lollard's Tower.* 

Before the day of trial the agitation had spread to the farthest 
corners of the island. From Scotland the Bishops received 
letters assuring them of the sympathy of the Presbyterians of 
that country, so long and so bitterly hostile to prelacy .f The 
people of Cornwall, a fierce, bold, and athletic race, among 
whom there was a stronger provincial feeling than in any other 
part of the realm, were greatly moved by the danger of Tre- 
lawney, whom they reverenced less as a ruler of the Church 
than as the head of an honourable house, and the heir through 
twenty descents of ancestors who had been of great note before 
the Normans had set foot on English ground. All over the 
country the peasants chanted a ballad of which the burden is 
still remembered : 

" And shall Trelawney die, and shall Trelawney die ? 
Then thirty thousand Cornish boys will know the reason why." 

The miners from their caverns reechoed the son<x with a varia- 
tion : 

" Then twenty thousand under ground will know the reason why." t 

The rustics in many parts of the country loudly expressed 
a strange hope which had never ceased to live in their hearts. 
Their Protestant Duke, their beloved Monmouth, would sud- 
denly appear, would lead them to victory, and would tread down 
the King and the Jesuits under his feet.§ 

* Johnstone, June 18, 1688 ; Evelyn's Diary, June 29. 
t Tanner MSS. 

t This fact was communicated to me in the most obliging manner by the 
Reverend K. S. Hawker of Morwenstow in Cornwall. 
§ Johnstone, June 18, 1688. 


The ministers were appalled. Even Jeffreys would gladly 
have retraced his steps. He charged Clarendon with friendly 
messages to the Bishops, and threw on others the blame of the 
prosecution which he had himself recommended. Sunderland 
again ventured to recommend concession. The late auspicious 
birth, he said, had given the King an excellent opportunity of 
withdrawing from a position full of danger and inconvenience 
without incurring the reproach of timidity or of caprice. On 
such happy occasions it had been usual for sovereigns to make 
the hearts of subjects glad by acts of clemeucy ; and nothing 
could be more advantageous to the Prince of Wales than that 
he should, while still in his cradle, be the peacemaker between 
his father and the agitated nation. But the King's resolution 
was fixed. " I will go on," he said. " I have been too indul- 
gent. Indulgence ruined my father."* The artful minister 
found that his advice had been formerly taken only because it 
had been shaped to suit the royal temper, and that, from the 
moment at which he began to counsel well, he began to counsel 
in vain. He had shown some signs of slackness in the proceed- 
ing against Magdalene College. He had recently attempted to 
convince the King that Tyrconnel's scheme of confiscating the 
property of the English colonists in Ireland was full of danger, 
and had, with the help of Powis and Bellasyse, so far succeeded 
that the execution of the design had been postponed for another 
year. But this timidity and scrupulosity had excited disgust and 
suspicion in the royal min&f The da)' of retribution had ar- 
rived. Sunderland was in the same situation in which his rival 
Rochester had been some months before. Each of the two 
statesmen in turn experienced the misery of clutching with an 
agonising grasp, power which was perceptibly slipping away. 
Each in turn saw his suggestions scornfully rejected. Both en- 
dured the pain of reading displeasure and distrust in the coun- 
tenance and demeanour of their master ; yet both were by their 

* Adda. * u f e f' 1688. 
July 9. 

t Sunderland's own narrative is, of course, not to be implicitly trusted. But 
he vouched Godolphin as a witness of what; took place respecting the Irish Act 
of Settlement. 


country held responsible for those crimes and errors from which 
they had vainly endeavoured to dissuade him. While he sus- 
pected them of trying to win popularity at the expense of his 
authority and dignity, the public voice loudly accused them of 
trying to win his favour at the expense of their own honour 
and of the general weal. Yet, in spite of mortifications and hu- 
miliations, they both clung to office with the gripe of drowning 
men. Both attempted to propitiate the King by affecting a 
willingness to be reconciled to his Church. But there was a 
point at which Rochester was determined to stop. He went to 
the verge of apostasy : but there he recoiled : and the world, 
in consideration of the firmness with which he refused to take 
the final step, granted him a liberal amnesty for all former 
compliances. Sunderland, less scrupulous and less sensible of 
shame, resolved to atone for his late moderation, and to recover 
the royal confidence, by an act which, to a mind impressed with 
the importance cf religious truth, must have appeared to be one 
of the most flagitious of crimes, and which even men of the 
world regard as the last excess of baseness. About a week be- 
fore the day fixed for the great trial, it was publicly announced 
that he was a Papist. The King talked with delight of this tri- 
umph of divine grace. Courtiers and envoys kept their counte- 
nances as well as they could while the renegade protested that 
he had been long convinced of the impossibility of finding sal- 
vation out of the communion of Rome, and that his conscience 
would not let him rest till he had renounced the heresies in 
which he had been brought up. The news spread fast. At all 
the coffeehouses it was told how the prime minister of England, 
his feet bare and a taper in his hand, had repaired to the royal 
chapel and knocked humbly for admittance ; how a priestly 
voice from within had demanded who was there ; how Sunder- 
land had made answer that a poor sinner who had long wander- 
ed from the true Church entreated her to receive and to absolve 
him ; how the doors were opened ; and how the neophyte par- 
took of the holy mysteries.* 

* Bariilon,^ e -fi' J t l " lc -f '1G88 ; Adda, J ™f ■ ; Van Cittera, *™3 ; Johnstone, 
July 1. July 8. July 9, July 6, ' ' 

July 2, 1GS8 ; The Converts, a poem. 

Vol. II.— 22 


This scandalous apostasy could not but heighten the interest 
with which the nation looked forward to the day when the fate 
of the seven brave confessors of the English Church was to be de- 
cided. To pack a jury was now the great object of the King. 
The crown lawyers were ordered to make strict enquiry as to 
the sentiments of the persons who were registered in the free- 
holders' book. Sir Samuel Astry, Clerk of the Crown, whose 
duty it was, in cases of this description, to select the names, was 
summoned to the palace, and had an interview with James in the 
presence of the Chancellor.* Sir Samuel seems to have done 
his best. For among the forty-eight persons whom he nom- 
inated, were said to be several servants of the King, and several 
Roman Catholies.f But as the counsel for the Bishops had a 
right to strike off twelve, these persons were removed. The 
crown lawyers also struck off twelve. The list was thus 
reduced to twenty-four. The first twelve who answered to 
their names were to try the issue. 

On the twenty-ninth of June, Westminster Hall, Old and 
New Palace Yard, and all the neighbouring streets to a great 
distance were thronged with people. Such an auditory had 
never before and has never since been assembled in the Court 
of King's Bench. Thirty -five temporal peers of the realm were 
counted in the crowd. $ 

All the four Judges of the Court were on the bench. Wright, 
who presided, had been raised to his high place over the heads 
of many abler and more learned men solely on account of his 
unscrupulous servility. Allibone was a Papist, and owed his 
situation to that dispensing power, the legality of which was 
now in question. Holloway had hitherto been a serviceable 
tool of the government. Even Powell, whose character for 
honesty stood high, had borne a part in some proceedings which 
it is impossible to defend. He had, in the great case of Sir 
Edward Hales, with some hesitation, it is true, and after some 
delay, concurred with the majority of the bench, and had thus 

* Clarendon's Diary, June 21, 1688. t Van Citters. ^"-? 1688. 

t Johnstone, July 2, 1G88. 


brought on his character a stain which his honourable conduct on 
this day completely effaced. 

The counsel were by no means fairly matched. The gov- 
ernment had required from its law officers services so odious 
and disgraceful that all the ablest jurists and advocates of the 
Tory party had, one after another, refused to comply, and had 
been dismissed from their employments. Sir Thomas Powis, 
the Attorney General, was scarcely of the third rank in his 
profession. Sir William Williams, the Solicitor General, had 
great abilities and dauntless courage : but he wanted discretion ; 
he loved wrangling ; he had no command over his temper ; and 
he was hated and despised by all political parties. The most 
conspicuous assistants of the Attorney and Solicitor were Ser- 
jeant Trinder, a Roman Catholic, and Sir Bartholomew Shower, 
Recorder of London, who had some legal learning, but whose 
fulsome apologies and endless repetitions were the jest of West- 
minster Hall. The government had wished to secure the ser- 
vices of Maynard : but he had plainly declared that he could 
not in conscience do what was asked of him.* 

On the other side were arrayed almost all the eminent 
forensic talents of the age. Sawyer and Finch, who, at the 
time of the accession of James, had been Attorney and Solicitor 
General, and who, during the persecution of the Whigs in the 
late reign, had served the crown with but too much vehemence 
and success, were of counsel for the defendants. With them 
were joined two persons who, since age had diminished the ac- 
tivity of Maynard, were reputed the two best lawyers that could 
be found in the Inns of Court ; Pemberton, who had, in the 
time of Charles the Second, been Chief Justice of the King's 
Bench, who had been removed from his high place on account 
of his humanity and moderation, and who had resumed his prac- 
tice at the bar ; and Pollexfen, who had long been at the head 
of the Western circuit, and who, though he had incurred much 
unpopularity by holding briefs for the crown at the Bloody 
Assizes, and particularly by appearing against Alice Lisle, was 
known to be at heart a Whig, if not a republican. Sir Cres- 

* Johnstone, July 2, 1688. 


well Levinz was also there, a man of great knowledge and ex- 
perience, but of singularly timid nature. He had been removed 
from the bench some years before, because he was afraid to 
serve the purposes of the government. He was now afraid to 
appear as the advocate of the Bishops, and had at first refused 
to receive their retainer : but it had been intimated to him by 
the whole body of attorneys who employed him that, if he de- 
clined this brief, he should never have another.* 

Sir George Treby, an able and zealous Whig, who had been 
Recorder of London under the old charter, was on the same 
side. Sir John Holt, a still more eminent Whig lawyer, was 
not retained for the defence, in consequence, it should seem, 
of some prejudice conceived against him by Sancroft, but was 
privately consulted on the case by the Bishop of London. f 
The junior counsel for the Bishops was a young barrister named 
John Somers. He had no advantages of birth or fortune ; nor 
had he yet had any opportunity of distinguishing himself before 
the eyes of the public : but his genius, his industry, his great 
and various accomplishments, were well known to a small circle 
of friends ; and, in spite of his Whig opinions, his pertinent and 
lucid mode of arguing and the constant propriety of his de- 
meanour had already secured to him the ear of the Court of 
King's Bench. The importance of obtaining his services had 
been strongly represented to the Bishops by Johnstone ; and 
Pollexfen, it is said, had declared that no man in Westminster 
Hall was so well qualified to treat a historical and constitutional 
question as Somers. ' 

The jury was sworn. It consisted of persons of highly re- 
spectable station. The foreman was Sir Roger Langlev, a bar- 
onet of old and honourable family. With him were joined a 
knight and ten esquires, several of whom are known to have 
been men of large possessions. There were some Nonconform- 
ists in the number; for the Bishops had wisely resolved not 

* Johnstone, July 2, 1688. The editor of Levinz's Reports expresses great wonder 
that, after the Revolution, Levinz was not replaced on the bench. The facts 
related by Johnstone may perhaps explain the seeming injustice. 

t I draw this inference from a letter of Compton to Sancroft, dated the 12th 
of June. 


to show any distrust of the Protestant Dissenters. One name 
excited considerable alarm, that of Michael Arnold. He was 
brewer to the palace ; and it was apprehended that the govern- 
ment counted on his voice. The story goes that he complained 
bitterly of the position in which he found himself. " Whatever 
I do," he said, " I am sure to be half ruined. If I say Not 
Guilty, I shall brew no more for the King ; and if I say Guilty, 
1 shall brew no more for anybody else." * 

The trial then commenced, a trial which, even when coolly 
perused after the lapse of more than a century and a half, has 
all the interest of a drama. The advocates contended on both 
sides with far more than professional keenness and vehemence ; 
the audience listened with as much anxiety as if the fate of 
every one of them was to be decided by the verdict ; and the 
turns of fortune were so sudden and amazing that the multitude 
repeatedly passed in a single minute from anxiety to exultation, 
and back again from exultation to still deeper anxiety. 

The information charged the Bishops with having written 
or published, in the county of Middlesex, a false, malicious, and 
seditious libel. The Attorney and Solicitor first tried to prove the 
writing. For this purpose several persons were called to speak 
to the hands of the Bishops. But the witnesses were so un- 
willing that hardly a single plain answer could be extracted 
from any of them. Pemberton, Pollexfen, and Levinz con- 
tended that there was no evidence to go to the jury. Two of 
the Judges, Hollo way and Powell, declared themselves of the 
same opinion ; and the hopes of the spectators rose high. All 
at once the crown lawyers announced their intention to take an- 
other line. Powis, with shame and reluctance which he could 
not dissemble, put into the witness box Blathwayt, a Clerk of 
the Privy Council, who had been present when the King inter- 
rogated the Bishops. Blathwayt swore that he had heard them 
own their signatures. His testimony was decisive. " Why," 
said Judge Holloway to the Attorney, " when you had such evi- 
dence, did you not produce it at first, without all this waste of 
time ? " It soon appeared why the counsel for the crown had 

* Revolution Politics. 


been unwilling, without absolute necessity, to resort to this mode 
of proof. Pemberton stopped Blathwayt, subjected him to a 
searching cross examination, and insisted upon having all that 
had passed between the King and the defendants fully related. 
" That is a pretty thing indeed," cried Williams. " Do you 
think," said Powis, "that you are at liberty to ask our wit- 
nesses any impertinent question that comes into your heads?" 
The advocates of the Bishops were not men to be so put down. 
" He is sworn," said Pollexfen, " to tell the truth and the whole 
truth ; and an answer we must and will have." The witness 
shuffled, equivocated, pretended to misunderstand the questions, 
implored the protection of the Court. But he was in hands 
from which it was not easy to escape. At length the Attorney 
again interposed. " If," he said, " you persist in asking such a 
question, tell us, at least, what use you mean to make of it." 
Pemberton, who, through the whole trial, did his duty manfully 
and ably, replied without hesitation : " My Lords, I will answer 
Mr. Attorney. I will deal plainly with the^ Court. If the 
Bishops owned this paper under a promise from His Majesty 
that their confession should not be used against them, I hope 
that no unfair advantage will be taken of them." " You put on 
His Majesty what I dare hardly name," said Williams. " Since 
you will be so pressing, I demand, for the King, that the ques- 
tion may be recorded." " What do you mean, Mr. Solicitor ? " 
said Sawyer, interposing. " I know what I mean," said the 
apostate : " I desire that the question may be recorded in court." 
" Record what you will. I am not afraid of you, Mr. Solicitor," 
said Pemberton. Then came a loud and fierce altercation, which 
Wright could with difficulty quiet. In other circumstances, he 
would probably have ordered the question to be recorded, and 
Pemberton to be committed. But on this great day the unjust 
Judge was overawed. He often cast a side glance towards the 
thick rows of Earls and Barons by whom he was watched, and 
before whom, in the next Parliament, he might stand at the bar. 
He looked, a bystander said, as if all the peers present had hal- 
ters in their pockets.* At length Blathwayt was forced to give 

* This is the expression of an eyewitness. It is in a newsletter in the Mack- 
intosh Collection. 


a full account of what had passed. It appeared that the King 
had entered into no express covenant with the Bishops. But it 
I appeared also that the Bishops might not unreasonably think 
that there was an implied engagement. Indeed from the un- 
willingness of the crown lawyers to put the Clerk of the Coun- 
cil into the witness box, and from the vehemence with which 
they objected to Pemberton's cross examination, it is plain that 
they were themselves of this opinion. 

However, the handwriting was now proved. But a new and 
serious objection was raised. It was not sufficient to prove that 
the Bishops had written the alleged libel. It was necessary to 
prove also that they had written it in the county of Middlesex. 
And not only was it out of the power of the Attorney and 
Solicitor to prove this ; but it was in the power of the defend- 
ants to prove the contrary. For it so happened that Sancroft 
had never once left the palace at Lambeth from the time when 
the Order in Council appeared till after the petition was in the 
King's hands. The whole case for the prosecution had there- 
fore completely broken down ; and the audience, with great 
glee, expected a speedy acquittal. 

The crown lawyers then changed their ground again, aban- 
doned altogether the charge of writing a libel, and undertook to 
prove that the Bishops had published a libel in the county of 
Middlesex. The difficulties were great. The delivery of the 
petition to the King was undoubtedly, in the eye of the law, a 
publication. But how was this delivery to be proved ? No 
person had been present at the audience in the royal closet 
except the King and the defendants. The King could not well 
be sworn. It was therefore only by the admissions of the 
defendants that the fact of publication could be established. 
Blathwayt was again examined, but in vain. He well remem- 
bered, he said, that the Bishops owned their hands ; but he did 
not remember that they owned the paper which lay on the 
table of the Privy Council to be the same paper which they had 
delivered to the King, or that they were even interrogated on 
that point. Several other official men who had been in attend- 
ance on the Council were called, and among them Samuel 


Pepys, Secretary of the Admiralty, but none of them could 
remember that anything was said about the delivery. It was 
to no purpose that Williams put leading questions till the coun- 
sel on the other side declared that such twisting, such wiredraw- 
ing, was never seen in a court of justice, and till Wright him- 
self was forced to admit that the Solicitor's mode of examination 
was contrary to all rule. As witness after witness answered in 
the negative, roars of laughter and shouts of triumph, which 
the Judges did not even attempt to silence, shook the hall. 

It seemed that at length this hard fight had been won. The 
case for the crown was closed. Had the counsel for the Bishops 
remained silent, an acquittal was certain ; for nothing which 
the most corrupt and shameless Judge could venture to call 
legal evidence of publication had been given. The Chief Jus- 
tice was beginning to charge the jury, and would undoubtedly 
have directed them to acquit the defendants ; but Finch, too 
anxious to be perfectly discreet, interfered, and begged to be 
heard. "If you will be heard," said Wright, "you shall be 
heard ; but you do not understand your own interests." The 
other counsel for the defence made Finch sit down, and begged 
the Chief Justice to proceed. lie was about to do so, when a 
messenger came to the Solicitor General with news that Lord 
Sunderland could prove the publication, and would come down 
to the court immediately. Wright maliciously told the counsel 
for the defence that they had only themselves to thank for the 
turn which things had taken. The countenances of the great 
multitude fell. Finch was, during some hours, the most un- 
popular man in the country. Why could he not sit still as his 
betters, Sawyer, Pemberton, and Pollexfen, had done? His 
love of meddling, his ambition to make a fine speech, had ruined 

Meanwhile the Lord President was brought in a sedan chair 
through the hall. Not a hat moved as he passed ; and many 
voices cried out " Popish dog." He came into court pale and 
trembling, with eyes fixed on the ground, and gave his evidence 
in a faltering voice. He swore that the Bishops had informed 
him of their intention to present a petition to the King, and 


that they had been admitted into the royal closet for that pur- 
pose. This circumstance, coupled with the circumstance that, 
after they left the closet, there was in the King's hands a peti- 
tion signed by them, was such proof as might reasonably satisfy 
a jury of the fact of the publication. 

Publication in Middlesex was then proved. But was the 
paper thus published a false, malicious, and seditious libel ? 
Hitherto the matter in dispute had been whether a fact which 
every body well knew to be true could be proved according to 
technical rules of evidence ; but now the contest became one of 
deeper interest. It was necessary to inquire into the limits of 
prerogative and liberty, into the right of the King to dispense 
with statutes, into the right of the subject to petition for the 
redress of grievances. During three hours the counsel for the 
petitioners argued with great force in defence of the fundamen- 
tal principles of the constitution, and proved from the Journals 
of the House of Commons that the Bishops had affirmed no 
more than the truth when they represented to the King that 
the dispensing power which he claimed had been repeatedly de- 
clared illegal by Parliament. Somers rose last. He spoke 
little more than five minutes : but every word was full of 
weighty matter ; and when he sate down his reputation as an 
orator and a constitutional lawyer was established. He went 
through the expressions which were used in the information to 
describe the offence imputed to the Bishops, and showed that 
every word, whether adjective or substantive, was altogether 
inappropriate. The offence imputed was a false, a malicious, a 
seditious libel. False the paper was not ; for every fact which 
it set forth had been shown from the journals of Parliament to 
be true. Malicious the paper was not ; for the defendants had 
not sought an occasion of strife, but had been placed by the 
government in such a situation that they must either oppose 
themselves to the royal will, or violate the most sacred obliga- 
tions of conscience and honour. Seditious the paper was not ; 
for it had not been scattered by the writers among the rabble, 
but delivered privately into the hands of the King alone ; and 
a libel it was not, but a decent petition such as, by the laws of 


England, nay by the laws of imperial Rome, by the laws of all 
civilized states, a subject who thinks himself aggrieved may 
with propriety present to the sovereign. 

The Attorney replied shortly and feebly. The Solicitor 
spoke at great length and with great acrimony, and was often 
interrupted by the clamours and hisses of the audience. He 
went so far as to lay it down that no cubject or body of subjects, 
except the Houses of Parliament, had a right to petition the 
King. The galleries were furious ; and the Chief Justice him- 
self stood aghast at the effrontery of this venal turncoat. 

At length Wright proceeded to sum up the evidence. His 
language showed that the awe in which he stood of the govern- 
ment was tempered by the awe with which the audience, so 
numerous, so splendid, and so strongly excited, had impressed 
him. He said that he would give no opinion on the question 
of the dispensing power ; that it was not necessary for him to do 
so ; that he could not agree with much of the Solicitor's speech; 
that it was the right of the subject to petition ; but that the 
particular petition before the Court was improperly worded, 
and was, in the contemplation of law, a libel. Allibone was of 
the same mind, but, in giving his opinion, showed such gross ig- 
norance of law and history as brought on him the contempt of 
all who heard him. Holloway evaded the question of the dis- 
pensing power, but said that the petition seemed to him to be 
such as subjects who think themselves aggrieved are entitled to 
present, and therefore no libel. Powell took a bolder course. 
He avowed that, in his judgment, the Declaration of Indulgence 
was a nullity, and that the dispensing power, as lately exercised, 
was utterly inconsistent with all law. If these encroachments 
of prerogative were allowed, there was an end of Parliaments. 
The whole legislative authority would be in the King. " That 
issue, gentlemen," he said, " I leave to God and to your con- 
sciences." * 

It was dark before the jury retired to consider of their ver- 
dict. The night was a night of intense anxiety. Some letters 

* Sec the proceedings in the collection of State Trials. I have taken some 
touches from Johnstone, and some from Van Citters. 


are extant which were dispatched during that period of suspense, 
and which have therefore an interest of a peculiar kind. " It is 
very late," wrote the Papal Nuncio, " and the decision is not yet 
known. The judges and the culprits have gone to their own 
homes. The jury remain together. Tomorrow we shall learn 
the event of this great struggle." 

The solicitor for the Bishops sate up all night with a body 
of servants on the stairs leading to the room where the jury was 
consulting. It was absolutely necessary to watch the officers 
who watched the doors ; for those officers were supposed to be 
in the interest of the crown, and might, if not carefully observed, 
have furnished a courtly juryman with food, which would have 
enabled him to starve out the other eleven. Strict guard was 
therefore kept. Not even a candle to light a pipe was permit- 
ted to enter. Some basins of water for washing were suffered 
to pass at about four in the morning. The jurymen, raging 
with thirst, soon lapped up the whole. Great numbers of peo- 
ple walked the neighbouring streets till dawn. Every hour a 
messenger came from Whitehall to know what was passing. 
Voices, high in altercation, were repeatedly heard within the 
room : but nothing certain was known.* 

At first nine were for acquitting and three for convicting. 
Two of the minority soon gave way : but Arnold was obstinate. 
Thomas Austin, a country gentleman of great estate, who had 
paid close attention to the evidence and speeches, and had 
taken full notes, wished to argue the question. Arnold declined. 
He was not used, he doggedly said, to reasoning and debating. 
His conscience was not satisfied - and he should not acquit the 
Bishops. "If you come to that," said Austin, "look at me. 
I am the largest and strongest of the twelve ; and before I find 
such a petition as this a libel, here I will stay till I am no bigger 
than a tobacco pipe." It was six m the morning before Arnold 
yielded. It was soon known that the jury were agreed : but 
what the verdict would be was still a secret.f 

* Johnstone, July 2, 1688 ; Letter from Mr. Ince to the Archbishop, dated at 
6ix o'clock in the morning ; Tanner MSS. ; Revolution Politics. 
t Johnstone, July 2, 1688. 


At ten the Court again met. The crowd was greater than 
ever. The jury appeared in the box ; and there was a breath- 
less stillness. 

Sir Samuel Astry spoke. " Do you find the defendants, 
or any of them, guilty of the misdemeanor whereof they are 
impeached, or not guilty ? " Sir Roger Langley answered, 
" Not Guilty." As the words were uttered, Halifax sprang up 
and waved his hat. At that signal, benches and galleries raised 
a shout. In a moment ten thousand persons, who crowded the 
great hall, replied with a still louder shout, which made the 
old oaken roof crack ; and in another moment the innumerable 
throng without set up a third huzza, which was heard at Temple 
Bar. The boats which covered the Thames gave an answering 
cheer. A peal of gunpowder was heard on the water, and 
another, and another ; and so in a few moments, the glad tid- 
ings went flying past the Savoy and the Friars to London Bridge, 
and to the forest of masts below. As the news spread, streets 
and squares, market-places and coffeehouses, broke forth into 
acclamations. Yet were the acclamations less strange than the 
weeping. For the feelings of men had been wound up to such 
a point that at length the stern English nature, so little used to 
outward signs of emotion, gave way, and thousands sobbed 
aloud for very joy. Meanwhile, from the outskirts of the mul- 
titude, horsemen were spurring off to bear along all the great 
roads intelligence of the victory of our Church and nation. Yet 
not even that astounding explosion could awe the bitter and 
intrepid spirit of the Solicitor. Striving to make himself heard 
above the din, he called on the Judges to commit those who had 
violated, by clamour, the dignity of a court of justice. One of 
the rejoicing populace was seized. But the tribunal felt that it 
would be absurd to punish a single individual for an offence com- 
mon to hundreds of thousands, and dismissed him with a gentle 

It was vain to think of passing at that moment to any other 

* State Trials ; Oldmixon. 730 ; Clarendon's Diary, June 2". 1GSS ; Johnstone, 
July 2; Van Citters, July 3-13 ; Adda, July 6-16 , Luttrell's Diary; Barillon, 
juiy 2-12. 


business. Indeed the roar of the multitude was such that, 
during half an hour, scarcely a word could be heard in the 
court. Williams got to his coach amidst a tempest of hisses and 
curses. Cartwright, whose curiosity was ungovernable, had been 
guilty of the folly and indecency of coming to Westminster m 
order to hear the decision. He was recognised by his sacerdo- 
tal garb and by his corpulent figure, and was hooted through the 
hall. " Take care," said one, " of the wolf in sheep's clothing." 
" Make room," cried another, " for the man with the Pope in 
his belly." * 

The acquitted prelates took refuge in the nearest chapel from 
the crowd which implored their blessings. Many churches were 
open on that morning throughout the capital ; and many pious 
persons repaired thither. The bells of all the parishes of the 
City and liberties were ringing. The jury meanwhile could 
scarcely make their way out of the hall. They were forced to 
shake hands with hundreds. " God bless you ! " cried the peo- 
ple ; " God prosper your families ! you have done like honest 
goodnatured gentlemen : you have saved in all to-day." As 
the noblemen who had attended to support the good cause drove 
off, they flung from their carriage windows handfuls of money, 
and bade the crowd drink to the health of the King, the Bish- 
ops, and the jury.f 

The Attorney went with the tidings to Sunderland, who 
happened to be conversing with the Xuncio. " Xever," said 

* Van Citters, July 3-13. The gravity with which he tells the story Las a 
comic efcect. " Den Bisschop van Chester, wie seer de partie van het hof houdt, 
ora te voldoen aan syne gewoone nieusgierigheyt, hem op dien tyt in "Westmin- 
ster Hall mede hebbende laten vinden, inhctuytgaan doorgaans was uytgekreten 
voor een grypende wolf in schaaps kleederen ; en hy synde een heer van hooge 
stature en vollyvig, spotsgewyse alomme geroepen was dat men voor hem plaala 
moeste maken, om to laten passen, gelyck ook geschiede, om dat soo sy uytseu- 
reeuwden en hem in het aansigt seyden, hy den Paus in syn buyck badde." 

t Luttrell ; Van Citters, July 3-13, 1688. •" Soo syn in tegendeel gedagto 
jurys met de uyterste aeclanutie en alle teyckenen van genegcnheyt en d.uick- 
baarheyt in het door passeren van de gemeente ontvangen. Honderderi vielen 
haar om den hals met alle bedeuckelycke wewensch van segen eu geluck over 
hare persoonen en famiiieu, om dat sy haar se heusch en eerlyck buyten ver- 
wagting3 als het ware in desen gedragen hadden. Yeele van de grooten en kiey- 
nen adel wierpen in het wegryden handen vol gelt onder de armen luyden, om op 
de gesontheyt-van den Coning, der Heeren Prelaten, en de Jurys te drincken." 


Powis, " within man's memory, have there been such shouts and 
tears of joy as today. "* The King had that morning visited 
the camp on Hounsiow Heath. Sunderland instantly sent a 
courier with the news. James was in Lord Feversham's tent 
when the express arrived. He was greatly disturbed, and ex- 
claimed in French, " So much the worse for them." He soon 
set out for London. While he was present, respect prevented 
the soldiers from giving a loose to their feelings ; but he had 
scarcely quitted the camp when he heard a great shouting behind 
him. He was surprised, and asked what that uproar meant. 
" Nothing," was the answer : " the soldiers are glad that the 
Bishops are acquitted." " Do you call that nothing ? " said 
James. And then he repeated. " So much the worse for them."f 
He might well be out of temper. His defeat had been com- 
plete and most humiliating. Had the prelates escaped on ac- 
count of some technical defect in the case for the crown, had 
they escaped because they had not written the petition in Mid- 
dlesex, or because it was impossible to prove, according to the 
strict rules of law, that they had delivered to the King the paper 
for which they were called in question, the prerogative would 
have suffered no shock. Happily for the country, the fact of 
publication had been fully established. The council for the de- 
fence had therefore been forced to attack the dispensing power. 
They had attacked it with great learning, eloquence, and bold- 
ness. The advocates of the government had been by universal 
acknowledgment overmatched in the contest. Not a single 
Judge had ventured to declare that the Declaration of Indul- 
gence was legal. One Judge had in the strongest terms pro- 
nounced it illegal. The language of the whole town was that 
the dispensing power had received a fatal blow. Finch, who 
had the day before been universally reviled, was now universally 
applauded. He had been unwilling, it was said, to let the case 

* " Mi trovava con Milord Sunderland la stessa mattina, quando venne l'Av- 
voeato Generale a rendergli conto del successo, e disse, che mai piu a memoria 
d'huomini si era sentito un applauso. mescolato di voci e lagrime di giubilo, egual 
a quello che veniva egli di vedere in quest' oecasione." — Adda, July 6-16, 1688. 

t Burnet, i. 744 ; Van Citters, July 3-13, 16S8. 


be decided in a way which would have left the great constitu- 
tional question still doubtful. He had felt that a verdict which 
should acquit his clients without condemning the Declaration of 
Indulgence, would be but half a victory. It is certain that Finch 
deserved neither the reproaches which had been cast on him 
while the event was doubtful, nor the praises which he re- 
ceived when it had proved happy. It was absurd to blame him 
because, during the short delay which he occasioned, the crown 
lawyers unexpectedly discovered new evidence. It was equally 
absurd to suppose that he deliberately exposed his clients to risk, 
in order to establish a general principle ; and still more absurd 
was it to praise him for what would have been a gross violation 
of professional duty. 

That joyful day was followed by a not less joyful evening. 
The Bishops, and some of their most respectable friends, in vain 
exerted themselves to prevent tumultuous demonstrations of pub- 
lic feeling. Never within the memory of the oldest, not even on 
that night on which it was known through London that the army 
of Scotland had declared for a free Parliament, had the streets 
been in such a glare with bonfires. Round every bonfire crowds 
were drinking good health to the Bishops and confusion to the 
Papists. The windows were lighted with rows of candles. Each 
row consisted of seven ; and the taper in the centre, which was 
taller than the rest, represented the Primate. The noise of rock- 
ets, squibs, and firearms, was incessant. One huge pile of faggots 
blazed right in front of the great gate of Whitehall. Others were 
lighted before the doors of Roman Catholic peers. Lord Aran- 
dell of Wardour wisely quieted the mob with a little money ; 
but at Salisbury House in the Strand, an attempt at resistance 
was made. Lord Salisbury's servants sallied out and fired : but 
they killed only the unfortunate beadle of the parish, who had 
come thither to put out the fire ; and they were soon routed and 
driven back into the house. None of the spectacles of that 
night interested the common people so much as one with which 
they had, a few years before, been familiar, and which they 
now, after a long interval, enjoyed once more, the burning of 
the Pope. This once familiar pageant is known to our genera- 


tion only by descriptions and engravings. A figure, by no 
means resembling those rude representations of Guy Faux 
which are still paraded on the fifth of November, but made of 
wax with some skill, and adorned at no small expense with 
robes and a tiara, was mounted on a chair resembling that in 
which the Bishops of Rome are still, on some great festivals, 
borne through St. Peter's Church to the high altar. His Holi- 
ness was generally accompanied by a train of Cardinals and 
Jesuits. At his ear stood a buffoon disguised as a devil with 
horns and tail. No rich and zealous Protestant grudged his 
guinea on such an occasion, and, if rumour could be trusted, the 
cost of the procession was sometimes not less than a thousand 
pounds. After the Pope had been borne some time in state 
over the heads of the multitude, lie was committed to the flames 
with loud acclamations. In the time of the popularity of Oates 
and Shaftesbury, this show was exhibited annually in Fleet 
Street before the windows of the Whig Club on the anniversary 
of the birth of Queen Elizabeth. Such was the celebrity of 
these grotesque rites, that Barillon once risked his life in order 
to peep at them from a hiding place.* But from the day when 
the Rye House plot was discovered, till the day of the acquittal 
of the Bishops, the ceremony had been disused. Now. how- 
ever, several Popes made their appearance in different parts of 
London. The Nuncio was much shocked ; and the King was 
more hurt by this insult to his Church than by all the other 
affronts which he had received. The magistrates, however, 
could do nothing. The Sunday had dawned, and the bells of 
the parish churches were ringing for early prayers, before 
the fires began to languish and the crowd to disperse. A proc- 
lamation was speedily put forth against the rioters. Many of 
them, mostly young apprentices, were apprehended ; but the 
bills were thrown out at the Middlesex sessions. The Justices, 
many of whom were Roman Catholics, expostulated with the 

* See a very curious narrative published, among other papers, in 1710. by 
Danb'-, then Duke of Leeds. There is an amusing account of the ceremony of 
burning a Pone in North's Examen, 570. See also the note on the Epilogue to 
the Tragedy of (Edipus iu Scott's edition of Dryden. 


grand jury and sent them three or four times back, but to no 

Meanwhile the glad tidings were flying to every part of the 
kingdom, and were everywhere received with rapture. Glou- 
cester, Bedford, and Lichfield were among the places which 
were distinguished by peculiar zeal : but Bristol and Norwich, 
which stood nearest to London in population and wealth, ap- 
proached nearest to London in enthusiasm on this joyful 

The prosecution of the Bishops is an event which stands by 
itself in our history. It was the first and the last occasion on 
which two feelings of tremendous potency, two feelings which 
have generally been opposed to each other, and either of 
which, when strongly excited, has sufficed to convulse the state, 
were united in perfect harmony. Those feelings were love of 
the Church and love of freedom. During many generations 
every violent outbreak of High Church feeling, with one excep- 
tion, has been unfavourable to civil liberty ; every violent out- 
break of zeal for liberty, with one exception, has been unfavour- 
able to the authority and influence of the prelacy and the priest- 
hood. In 1 688 the cause of the hierarchy was for a moment that 
of the popular party. More than nine thousand clergymen, with 
the Primate and his most respectable suffragans at their head, 
offered themselves to endure bonds and the spoiling of their 
goods for the great fundamental principle of our free con- 
stitution. The effect was a coalition which included the 
most zealous Cavaliers, the most zealous Republicans, and 
all the intermediate sections of the community. The spirit 
which had supported Hampden in the preceding generation, 
the spirit which, in the succeeding generation, supported Sach- 
everell, combined to support the Archbishop who was Hampden 
and Sacheverell in one. Those classes of society which are 
most deeply interested in the preservation of order, which in 
troubled times are generally most ready to strengthen the hands 

* Reresby's Memoirs ; Tan Citters, July 3-13, 1688 ; Adda, July G-16 ; Baril- 
lon, July 2-12 ; Luttrell's Diary ; Newsletter of July 4 ; Oldmixon, 739 ; Ellis 

Vol. II.— 23 


of government, and which have a natural antipathy to agitators, 
followed, without scruple, the guidance of a venerable man, the 
first peer of the Parliament, the first minister of the Church, a 
Tory in politics, a saint in manners, whom tyranny had in his 
own despite turned into a demagogue. Many, on the other 
hand, who had always abhorred episcopacy, as a relic of Popery, 
and as an instrument of arbitrary power, now asked on bended 
knees the blessing of a prelate who was ready to wear fetters and 
to lay his aged limbs on bare stones rather than betray the in- 
terests of the Protestant religion and set the prerogative above 
the laws. With love of the Church and with love of freedom 
was mingled, at this great crisis, a third feeling which is among 
the most honourable peculiarities of our national character. 
An individual oppressed by power, even when destitute of all 
claim to public respect and gratitude, generally finds strong 
sympathy among us. Thus, in the time of our grandfathers, 
society was thrown into confusion by the persecution of Wilkes. 
We have ourselves seen the nation roused to madness by the 
wrongs of Queen Caroline. It is probable, therefore, that even 
if no great political or religious interest had been staked on the 
event of the proceeding against the Bishops, England would 
not have seen, without strong emotions of pity and anger, old 
men of stainless virtue pursued by the vengeance of a harsh 
and inexorable prince who owed to their fidelity the crown 
which he wore. 

Actuated by these sentiments our ancestors arrayed them- 
selves against the government in one huge and compact mass. All 
ranks, all parties, all Protestant sects, made up that vast pha- 
lanx. In the van were the Lords Spiritual and Temporal. 
Then came the landed gentry and the clergy, both the Univer- 
sities, all the Inns of Court, merchants, shopkeepers, farmers, 
the porters who plied in the streets of the great towns, the 
peasants who ploughed the fields. The league against the King 
included the very foremost men who manned his ships, the very 
sentinels who guarded his palace. The names of Whig and Tory 
were for a moment forgotten. The old Exclusionist took the 
old Abhorrer by the hand. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, 


Independents, Baptists, forgot their long feud, and remembered 
only their common Protestantism and their common danger. 
Divines bred in the school of Laud talked loudly, not only of 
toleration, but of comprehension. The Archbishop soon after 
his acquittal put forth a pastoral letter which is one of the most 
remarkable compositions of that age. He had, from his youth 
up, been at war with the Nonconformists, and had repeatedly 
assailed them with unjust and unchristian asperity. His prin- 
cipal work was a hideous caricature of the Calvinistic theology.* 
He had drawn up for the thirtieth of January and for the 
twenty-ninth of May forms of prayer which reflected on the 
Puritans in language so strong that the government had 
thought fit to soften it down. But now his heart was melted 
and opened. He solemnly enjoined the Bishops and clergy to 
have a very tender regard to their brethren the Protestant 
Dissenters, to visit them often, to entertain them hospitably, to 
discourse with them civilly, to persuade them, if it might be, 
to conform to the Church, but, if that were found impossible, to 
join them heartily and affectionately in exertions for the blessed 
cause of the Reformation-! 

Many pious persons in subsequent years remembered that 
time with bitter regret. They described it as a short glimpse 
of a golden age between two iron ages. Such lamentation, 
though natural, was not reasonable. The coalition of 1688 was 
produced, and could be produced, only by tyranny which ap- 
proached to insanity, and by danger which threatened at once all 
the great institutions of the country. If there has never since 
been similar union, the reason is that there has never since been 
similar misgovernment. It must be remembered that, though 

* The Fur Prsedestinatus. 

t This document will he found in the first of the twelve collections of papers 
relating to the affairs of England, printed at the end of 1688 and the beginning of 
1689. It was put forth on the 26th of July, not quite a month after the trial. 
Lloyd of Saint Asaph about the same time told Henry Wharton that the Bishops 
purposed to adopt an entirely new policy towards the Protestant Dissenters ; 
** Omni modo curaturos ut ecclesia sordibus et corruptelis penitus exueretur ; ut 
eectariis reformatis reditus in ecclesiae sinum exoptati occasio ac ratio concede- 
retur, si qui sobrii et pii essent ; ut pertinacibus interim jugum levaretur, ex- 
tlnctis penitus legibus niulctatoriis."— Excerpta ex Vita H. Wharton. 


concord is in itself better than discord, discord may indicate a 
better state of things than is indicated by concord. Calamity 
and peril often force men to combine. Prosperity and security 
often encourage them to separate. 



The acquittal of the Bishops was not the only event -which 
makes the thirtieth of June 1688 a great epoch in history. On 
that day, while the bells of a hundred churches were ringing, 
while multitudes were busied, from Hyde Park to Mile End, 
in piling faggots and dressing Popes for the rejoicings of the 
nio-ht, was despatched from London to the Hague an instru- 
ment scarcely less important to the liberties of England than 
the Great Charter. 

The prosecution of the Bishops, and the birth of the Prince 
of Wales, had produced a great revolution in the feelings of 
many Tories. At the very moment at which their Church 
was suffering the last excess of injury and insult, they were 
compelled to renounce the hope of peaceful deliverance. 
Hitherto they had nattered themselves that the trial to which 
their loyalty was subjected would, though severe, be temporary, 
and that their wrongs would shortly be redressed without any 
violation of the ordinary rule of succession. A very different 
prospect was now before them. As far as they could look for- 
ward they saw only misgovernment, such as that of the last 
three years, extending through ages. The cradle of the heir 
apparent of the crown was surrounded by Jesuits. Deadly 
hatred of that Church of which he would one day be the head 
would be studiously instilled into his infant mind, would be the 
guiding principle of his life, and would be bequeathed by him 
to his posterity. This vista of calamities had no end. It 
stretched beyond the life of the youngest man living, beyond 
the eighteenth century. None could say how many genera- 
tions of Protestant Englishmen might have to bear oppression, 
such as, even when it had been believed to be short, had been 


found almost insupportable. Was there then no remedy? 
One remedy there was, quick, sharp, and decisive, a remedy 
which the Whigs had been but too ready to employ, but which 
had always been regarded by the Tories as, in all cases, unlawful. 
The greatest Auglican doctors of that age had maintained 
that no breach of law or contract, no excess of cruelty, rapacity, 
or licentiousness, on the part of a rightful king, could justify 
his people in withstanding him by force. Some of them had 
delighted to exhibit the doctrine of nonresistance in a form so 
exaggerated as to shock common sense and humanity. They 
frequently and emphatically remarked that Nero was at the 
head of the Roman government when Saint Paul inculcated the 
duty of obeying magistrates. The inference which they drew 
was that, if an English king should, without any law but his 
own pleasure, persecute his subjects for not worshipping idols, 
should fling them to the lions in the Tower, should wrap them 
up in pitched cloth and set them on fire to light up Saint 
James's Park, and should go on with these massacres till whole 
towns and shires were left without one inhabitant, the survivors 
would still be bound meekly to submit, and to be torn in pieces 
or roasted alive without a struggle. The arguments in favour 
of this proposition were futile indeed : but the place of sound 
argument was amply supplied by the omnipotent sophistry of 
interest and of passion. Many writers have expressed wonder 
that the highspirited Cavaliers of England should have been 
zealous for the most slavish theory that has ever been known 
among men. The truth is that this theory at first presented 
itself to the Cavalier as the very opposite of slavish. Its ten- 
dency was to make him not a slave but a freeman and a master. 
It exalted him by exalting one whom he regarded as his pro- 
tector, as his friend, as the head of his beloved party and of 
his more beloved Church. When Republicans were dominant 
the Royalist had endured wrongs and insults which the res- 
toration of the legitimate government had enabled him to 
retaliate. Rebellion was therefore associated in his imagina- 
tion with subjection and degradation, and monarchical author- 
ity with liberty and ascendency. It had never crossed his 


imagination that a time might come when a King, a Stuart, 
would persecute the most loyal of the clergy and gentry with 
more than the animosity of the Rump or the Protector. That 
time had however arrived. It was now to be seen how the 
patience which Churchmen professed to have learned from 
the writings of Paul would stand the test of a persecution by 
no means so severe as that of Nero. The event was such as 
everybody who knew anything of human nature, would have 
predicted. Oppression speedily did what philosophy and elo- 
quence would have failed to do. The system of Filmer might 
have survived the attacks of Locke: but it never recovered 
from the death blow given by James. 

That logic, which, while it was used to prove that Presbyterians 
and Independents ought to bear imprisonment and confiscation 
with meekness, had been pronounced unanswerable, seemed to 
be of very little force when the question was whether Anglican 
Bishops should be imprisoned, and the revenues of Anglican 
colleges confiscated. It had been often repeated, from the 
pulpits of all the Cathedrals of the land, that the apostolical 
injunction to obey the civil magistrate was absolute and univer- 
sal, and that it was impious presumption in man to limit a pre- 
cept which had been promulgated without any limitation in the 
word of God. Now, however, divines, whose sagacity had been 
sharpened by the imminent danger in which they stood of being 
turned out of their livings and prebends to make room for Pa- 
pists, discovered flaws in the reasoning which had formerly 
seemed so convincing. The ethical parts of Scripture were not 
to be construed like Acts of Parliament, or like the casuistical 
treatises of the schoolmen, What Christian really turned the 
left cheek to the ruffian who had smitten the right ? What 
Christian really gave his cloak to the thieves who had taken 
his coat away ? Both in the Old and in the New Testament 
general rules were perpetually laid down unaccompanied by the 
exceptions. Thus there was a general command not to kill, 
unaccompanied by any reservation in favour of the warrior who 
kills in defence of his king and country. There was a general 
command not to swear, unaccompanied by any reservation in 


favour of the witness who swears to speak the truth before a 
judge. Yet the lawfulness of defensive war, and of judicial 
oaths, was disputed only by a few obscure sectaries, and was 
positively affirmed in the articles of the Church of England. 
All the arguments which showed that the Quaker, who refused 
to bear arms, or to kiss the Gospels, was unreasonable and per- 
verse, might be turned against those who denied to subjects the 
right of resisting extreme tyranny by force. If it was con- 
tended that the texts which prohibited homicide, and the texts 
which prohibited swearing, though generally expressed, must be 
construed in subordination to the great commandment by which 
every man is enjoined to promote the welfare of his neighbours, 
and would, when so construed, be found not to apply to cases 
in which homicide or swearing might be absolutely necessary to 
protect the dearest interests of society, it was not easy to deny 
that the texts which prohibited resistance ought to be construed 
in the same manner. If the ancient people of God had been 
directed sometimes to destroy human life, and sometimes to 
bind themselves by oaths, they had also been directed sometimes 
to resist wicked princes. If early fathers of the Church had 
occasionally use d language which seemed to imply that they 
disapproved of all resistance, they had also occasionally used 
language which seemed to imply that they disapproved of all 
war and of all oaths. In truth the doctrine of passive obedi- 
ence, as taught at Oxford in the reign of Charles the Second, 
can be deduced from the Bible only by a mode of interpretation 
which would irresistibly lead us to the conclusions of Barclay 
and Penn. 

It was not merely by arguments drawn from the letter of 
Scripture that the Anglican theologians had, during the years 
which immediately followed the Restoration, laboured to prove 
their favourite tenet. They had attempted to show that, even 
if revelation had been silent, reason would have taught wise 
rilen the folly and wickedness of all resistance to established 
government. It was universally admitted that such resistance 
was, except in extreme cases, unjustifiable. And who would 
undertake to draw the line between extreme cases and ordinary 


cases ? Was there any government in the world under which 
there were not to be found some discontented and factious men 
who would say, and perhaps think, that their grievances consti- 
tuted an extreme case ? If, indeed, it were possible to lay down 
a clear and accurate rule which might forbid men to rebel 
against Trajan, and yet leave them at liberty to rebel against 
Caligula, such a rule might be highly beneficial. But no such 
rule had ever been, or ever would be, framed. To say that 
rebellion was lawful under some circumstances, without accu- 
rately defining those circumstances, was to say that every man 
might rebel whenever he thought fit; and a society in which 
every man rebelled whenever he thought fit would be more 
miserable than a society governed by the most cruel and licen- 
tious despot. It was therefore necessary to maintain the great 
principle of nonresistance in all its integrity. Particular cases 
might doubtless be put in which resistance would benefit a com- 
munity : but it was, on the whole, better that the people should 
patiently endure a bad government than that they should relieve 
themselves by violating a law on which the security of all gov- 
ernment depended. 

Such reasoning easily convinced a dominant and prosperous 
party, but could ill bear the scrutiny of minds strongly excited 
by royal injustice and ingratitude. It is true that to trace the 
exact boundary between rightful and wrongful resistance is im- 
possible : but this impossibility arises from the nature of right 
and wrong, and is found in every part of ethical science. A 
good action is not distinguished from a bad action by marks so 
plain as those which distinguish a hexagon from a square. 
There is a frontier where virtue and vice fade into each other. 
Who has ever been able to define the exact boundary between 
courage and rashness, between prudence and cowardice, between 
frugality and avarice, between liberality and prodigality ? Who 
has ever been able to say how far mercy to offenders ought to 
be carried, and where it ceases to deserve the name of mercy 
and becomes a pernicious weakness ? What casuist, what law- 
giver, has ever been able nicely to mark the limits of the right 
of self defence ? All our jurists hold that a certain quantity of 


risk to life or limb justifies a man in shooting or stabbing an 
assailant : but they have long given up in despair the attempt 
to describe, in precise words, that quantity of risk. They only 
say that it must be, not a slight risk, but a risk such as would 
cause serious apprehension to a man of firm mind ; and who 
will undertake to say what is the precise amount of apprehen- 
sion which deserves to be called serious, or what is the precise 
texture of mind which deserves to be called firm ? It is doubtless 
to be lamented that the nature of words and the nature of things 
do not admit of more accurate legislation : nor can it be denied 
that wrong will often be done when men are judges in their own 
cause, and proceed instantly to execute their own judgment. Yet 
who would, on that account, interdict all self defence ? The right 
which a people has to resist a bad government bears a close 
analogy to the right which an individual, in the absence of legal 
protection, has to slay an assailant. In both cases the evil 
must be grave. In both cases all regular and peaceable modes 
of defence must be exhausted before the aggrieved party resorts 
to extremities. In both cases an awful responsibility is incurred. 
In both cases the burden of the proof lies on him who has ven- 
tured on so desperate an expedient : and, if he fails to vindicate 
himself, he is justly liable to the severest jjenalties. But in 
neither case can we absolutely deny the existence of the right. 
A man beset by assassins isjiot bound to let himself be tortured 
and butchered without using his weapons, because nobody has 
ever been able precisely to define the amount of danger which 
justifies homicide. Nor is a society bound to endure passively 
all that tyranny can inflict, because nobody has ever been able 
precisely to define the amount of misgovernment which justifies 

But could the resistance of Englishmen to such a prince as 
James be properly called rebellion ? The thoroughpaced disciples 
of Filmer, indeed, maintained that there was no difference 
whatever between the polity of our country and that of Turkey, 
and that, if the King did not confiscate the contents of all the 
tills in Lombard Street, and send mutes with bowstrings to 
Sancroft and Halifax, this was only because His Majesty was 


too gracious to use the whole power which he derived from 
heaven. But the great body of Tories, though, in the heat of 
conflict, they might occasionally use language which seemed to 
indicate that they approved of these extravagant doctrines, 
heartily abhorred despotism. The English government was, in 
their view, a limited monarchy. Yet how can a monarchy be 
said to be limited, if force is never to be employed, even in the 
last resort, for the purpose of maintaining the limitations ? In 
Muscovy, where the sovereign was, by the constitution of the 
state, absolute, it might perhaps be, with some colour of truth, 
contended that, whatever excesses he might commit, he was 
still entitled to demand, on Christian principles, the obedience 
of his subjects. But here prince and people were alike bound 
by the laws. It was therefore James who incurred the woe 
denounced against those who insult the powers that be. It 
was James who was resisting the ordinance of God, who was 
mutinying against that legitimate authority to which he ought 
to have been subject, not only for wrath, but also for con- 
science sake, and who was, in the true sense of the words of 
Jesus, withholding from Caesar the things which were Caesar's. 
Moved by such considerations as these, the ablest and most 
enlightened Tories began to admit that they had overstrained 
the doctrine of passive obedience. The difference between 
these men and the Whigs as to the reciprocal obligations of kings 
and subjects was now no longer a difference of principle. There 
still remained, it is true, many historical controversies between 
the party which had always maintained the lawfulness of resist- 
ance and the new converts. The memory of the blessed 
Martyr was still as much revered as ever by those old Cavaliers 
who were ready to take arms against his degenerate son. They 
still spoke with abhorrence of the Long Parliament, of the Rye 
House plot, and of the Western insurrection. But, whatever 
they might think about the past, the view which they took of 
the present was altogether Whiggish ; for they now held that 
extreme oppression might justify resistance, and they held that 
the oppression which the nation suffered was extreme. * 

* This change in the opinion of a section of the Tory party is well illustrated 


It must not, however, be supposed that all the Tories re- 
nounced, even at that conjuncture, a tenet which they had from 
childhood been taught to regard as an essential part of Chris- 
tianity, which they had professed during many years with ostenta- 
tious vehemence, and which they had attempted to propagate by 
persecution. Many were kept steady to their old creed by con- 
science, and many by shame. But the greater part, even of 
those who still continued to pronounce all resistance to the sover- 
eign unlawful, were disposed, in the event of a civil conflict, to 
remain neutral. No provocation should drive them to rebel . 
but, if rebellion broke forth, it did not appear that they were 
bound to fight for James the Second as they would have fought 
for Charles the First. The Christians of Rome had been for- 
bidden by Saint Paul to resist the government of Nero : but 
there was no reason to believe that the Apostle, if he had been 
alive when the Legions and the Senate rose up against that 
wicked Emperor, would have commanded the brethren to fly to 
arms in support of tyranny. The duty of the persecuted Church 
was clear: she must suffer patiently, and commit her cause to God. 
But, if God, whose providence perpetually educes good out of 
evil, should be pleased, as oftentimes He had been pleased, to 
redress her wrongs by the instrumentality of men whose angry 
passions her lessons had not been able to tame, she might grate- 
fully accept from Him a deliverance which her principles did 
not permit her to achieve for herself. Most of those Tories, 
therefore, who still sincerely disclaimed all thought of attacking 
the government, were yet by no means inclined to defend it, 
and perhaps, while glorying in their own scruples, secretly re- 
joiced that everybody was not so scrupulous as themselves. 

The Whigs saw that their time was come. Whether they 
should draw the sword against the government had, during six 
or seven years, been, in their view, merely a question of pru- 
dence ; and prudence itself now urged them to take a bold 

by a little tract published at the beguiling of 1RS9, and entitled " A Dialogue 
between Two Friends, wherein the Church of England is vindicated in joining 
with the Prince of Orange." 


In May, before the birth of the Prince of Wales, and while 
it was still uncertain whether the Declaration would or would 
not be read in the churches, Edward Russell had repaired to the 
Hague. He had strongly represented to the Prince of Orange 
the state of the public mind, and had advised His Highness to 
appear in England at the head of a strong body of troops, and 
to call the people to arms. 

William had seen, at a glance, the whole importance of the 
crisis. " Now or never," he exclaimed in Latin to Van Dyk- 
velt. # To Russell he held more guarded language, admitted 
that the distempers of the state were such as required an ex- 
traordinary remedy, but spoke with earnestness of the chance 
of failure, and of the calamities which failure might bring on 
Britain and on Europe. He knew well that many who talked in 
high language about sacrificing their lives and fortunes for their 
country would hesitate when the prospect of another Bloody 
Circuit was brought close to them. He wanted therefore to have 
not vague professions of good will, but distinct invitations and 
promises of support subscribed by powerful and eminent men. 
Russell remarked that it would be dangerous to entrust the de- 
sign to a great number of persons. William assented, and said 
that a few signatures would be sufficient, if they were the signa- 
tures of statesmen who represented great interests-! 

With this answer Russell returned to London, where he found 
the excitement greatly increased and daily increasing. The im- 
prisonment of the Bishops and the delivery of the Queen made 
his task easier than he could have anticipated. He lost no time 
in collecting the voices of the chiefs of the opposition. His 
principal coadjutor in this work was Henry Sidney, brother of 
Algernon. It is remarkable that both Edward Russell and Henry 
Sidney had been in the household of James, that both had, partly 
on public and partly on private grounds, become his enemies, and 
that both had to avenge the blood of near kinsmen who had, in 
the same year, fallen victims to his implacable severity. Here 
the resemblance ends. Russell, with considerable abilities, was 

* " Aut nunc, aut nunquam."— "WitsenMS. quoted by Wagenaar, book Ix. 
t Burnet, i. 7C3. 


proud, acrimonious, restless, and violent. Sidney, with a sweet 
temper and winning manners, seemed to be deficient in capacity 
and knowledge, and to be sunk in voluptuousness and indolence. 

His face and form were eminently handsome. In his youth 
he had been the terror of husbands ; and even now, at near 
fifty, he was the favourite of women and the envy of younger 
men. He had formerly resided at the Hague in a public char- 
acter, and had then succeeded in obtaining a large share of Wil- 
liam's confidence. Many wondered at this : for it seemed that 
between the most austere of statesmen and the most dissolute 
of idlers there could be nothing in common. Swift, many years 
later, could not be convinced that one whom he had known only 
as an illiterate and frivolous old rake could really have played 
a great part in a great revolution. Yet a less acute observer 
than Swift might have been aware that there is a certain tact, 
resembling an instinct, which is often wanting to great orators 
and philosophers, and which is often found in persons who, if 
judged by their conversation or by their writings, would be pro- 
nounced simpletons. Indeed, when a man possesses this tact, it 
is in some sense an advantage to him that he is destitute of those 
more showy talents which would make him an object of admira- 
tion, of envy, and of fear. Sidney was a remarkable instance of 
this truth. Incapable, ignorant, and dissipated as he seemed to 
be, he understood, or rather felt, with whom it was necessary to 
be reserved, and with whom he might safely venture to be com- 
municative. The consequence was, that he did what Mordaunt, 
with all his vivacity and invention, or Burnet, with all his mul- 
tifarious knowledge and fluent elocution, never could have done.* 

With the old Whigs there could be no difficulty. In their 
opinion there had been scarcely a moment, during many years, 
at which the public wrongs would not have justified resistance. 
Devonshire, who might be regarded as their chief, had private 
as well as public wrongs to revenge. He went into the scheme 
with his whole heart, and answered for his party.f 

* Sidney's Diary and Corr espondence, edited by Mr. Blencowe ; Mackay's 
Memoirs with Swift's note ; Burnet, i. 763. 

t Burnet, i. 7C4 ; Letter in cipher to "William, dated June 18, 1688, in Dal- 


Russell opened the design to Shrewsbury. Sidney sounded 
Halifax. Shrewsbury took his part with a courage and de- 
cision which, at a later period, seemed to be wanting to his 
character. He at once agreed to set his estate, his honours, 
and his life, on the stake. But Halifax received the first hint 
of the project in a way which showed that it would be useless, 
and perhaps hazardous, to be explicit. He was indeed not the 
man for such an enterprise. His intellect was inexhaustibly 
fertile of distinctions and objections, his temper calm and unad- 
venturous. He was ready to oppose the Court to the utmost in 
the House of Lords and by means of anonymous writings ; but 
he was little disposed to exchange his lordly repose for the in- 
secure and agitated life of a conspirator, to be in the power of 
accomplices, to live in constant dread of warrants and King's 
messengers, nay, perhaps, to end his days on a scaffold, or to 
live on alms in some back street of the Hague. He therefore 
let fall some words which plainly indicated that he did not wish 
to be privy to the intentions of his more daring and impetuous 
friends. Sidney understood him and said no more.* 

The next application was made to Danby, and had far 
better success. Indeed, for his bold and active spirit the 
danger and the excitement, which were insupportable to the 
more delicately organised mind of Halifax, had a strong fascina- 
tion. The different characters of the two statesmen were legible 
in their faces. The brow, the eye, and the mouth of Halifax 
indicated a powerful intellect and an exquisite sense of the 
ludicrous ; but the expression was that of a sceptic, of a voluptu- 
ary, of a man not likely to venture his all on a single hazard, or 
to be a martyr in any cause. To those who are acquainted with 
his countenance it will not seem wonderful that the writer in 
whom he most delighted was Montaigne.f Danby was a skele- 
ton ; and his meagre and wrinkled, though handsome and noble, 
face strongly expressed both the keenness of his parts, and 
the restlessness of his ambition. Already he had once risen 

* Burnet, i. 764; Letter in cipher to William, dated June 18, 16S8, in Dalrymple. ' 
t As to Montaigne, see Halifax's Letter to Cotton. I am not sure that the 

head of Halifax in Westminster Abbey does not give a more lively notion of 

him than any painting or engraving that I have seen. 


from obscurity to the height of power. He had then fallen 
headlong from his elevation. His life had been in danger. He 
had passed years in a prison. He was now free : but this did 
not content him ; he wished to be again great. Attached as he 
was to the Anglican Church, hostile as he was to the French 
ascendency, he could not hope to be great in a court swarming 
with Jesuits and obsequious to the House of Bourbon. But, if 
he bore a chief part in a revolution which should confound all 
the schemes of the Papists, which should put an end to the long 
vassalage of England, and which should transfer the regal power 
to an illustrious pair whom he had united, he might emerge from 
his eclipse with new splendour. The Whigs, whose animosity 
had nine years before driven him |rorn office, would, on his au- 
spicious reappearance, join their acclamations to the acclama- 
tions of his old friends the Cavaliers. Already there had been 
a complete reconciliation between him and one of the most dis- 
tinguished of those who had formerly been managers of his im- 
peachment, the Earl of Devonshire. The two noblemen had 
met at a village in the Peak, and had exchanged assurances of 
good will. Devonshire had frankly owned that the Whigs had 
been guilty of a great injustice, and had declared that they were 
now convinced of their error. Danby, on his side, had also re- 
cantations to make. He had once held, or pretended to hold, 
the doctrine of passive obedience in the largest sense. Under 
his administration, and with his sanction, a law had been pro- 
posed, which, if it had been passed, would have excluded from 
Parliament and office all who refused to declare on oath that 
they thought resistance in every case unlawful. But his vigor- 
ous understanding, now thoroughly awakened by anxiety for the 
public interests and for his own, was no longer to be duped, if 
indeed it ever had been duped, by such childish fallacies. He 
at once gave in his own adhesion to the conspiracy. He then 
exerted himself to obtain the concurrence of Compton, the sus- 
pended Bishop of London, and succeeded without difficulty. No 
prelate had been so insolently and unjustly treated by the gov- 
ernment as Compton ; nor had any prelate so much to expect 
from a revolution : for he had directed the education of the Prin- 


cess of Orange, and was supposed to possess a large share of 
her confidence. He had, like his brethren, strongly maintained, 
as long as he was not oppressed, that it was a crime to resist op- 
pression ; but, since he had stood before the High Commission, 
a new light had broken in upon his mind.* 

Both Danby and Compton were desirous to secure the assist- 
ance of Nottingham. The whole plan was opened to him ; and 
he approved of it. But in a few days he began to be unquiet. 
His mind was not sufficiently powerful to emancipate itself from 
the prejudices of education. He went about from divine to di- 
vine proposing in general terms hypothetical cases of tyranny, 
and inquiring whether in such cases resistance would be lawful. 
The answers which he obtained increased his distress. He at 
length told his accomplices that he could go no further with them. 
If they thought him capable of betraying them, they might stab 
him ; and he should hardly blame them ; for, by drawing back 
after going so far, he had given them a kind of right over his 
life. They had, however, he assured them, nothing to fear 
from him : he would keep their secret: he could not help wish- 
ing them success ; but his conscience would not suffer him to 
take an active part in a rebellion. They heard his confession 
with suspicion and disdain. Sidney, whose notions of a con- 
scientious scruple were extremely vague, informed the Prince 
that Nottingham had taken fright. It is due to Nottingham, 
however, to say that the general tenor of his life justifies us in 
believing his conduct on this occasion to have been perfectly 
honest, though most unwise and irresolute. f 

The agents of the Prince had more complete success with 
Lord Lumley, who knew himself to be, in spite of the eminent 
service which he had performed at the time of the Western in- 
surrection, abhorred at Whitehall, not only as a heretic but as 
a renegade, and who was therefore more eager than most of 
those who had been born Protestants to take arms in defence of 
Protestantism. J 

* See Danby's Introduction to the papers which he published in 1710 ; Burnet, 
1. 704. 

t Burnet, i. 704 ; Sidney to the Prince of Orange, June 30, 1088, in Dalrymple. 
% Burnet, i. 703 ; Lumley to William, May 31, 1688, in Dalrymple 

Vol. II.— 24 


During June the meetings of those who were in the secret 
were frequent. At length, on the last day of the month, the 
clay on which the Bishops were pronounced not guilty, the de- 
cisive step was taken. A formal invitation, transcribed by Sid- 
ney, but drawn up by some person better skilled than Sidney in 
the art of composition, was despatched to the Hague. In 
this paper William was assured that nineteen twentieths of the 
English people were desirous of a change, and would willingly 
join to effect it, if only they could obtain the help of such a 
force from abroad as might secure those who should rise in 
arms from the danger of being dispersed and slaughtered before 
they could form themselves into anything like military order. 
If His Highness would appear in the island at the head of some 
troops, tens of thousands would hasten to his standard. He 
would soon find himself at the head of a force greatly superior 
to the whole regular army of England. Nor could that army 
be implicitly depended on by the government. The officers 
were discontented ; and the common soldiers shared that aver- 
sion to Popery which was general in the class from which they 
were taken. In the navy Protestant feeling was still stronger. 
It was important to take some decisive step while things were 
in this state. The enterprise would be far more arduous if it 
were deferred till the King, by remodelling boroughs and regi- 
ments, had procured a Parliament and an army on which he 
could rely. The conspirators, therefore, implored the Prince 
to come among them with as little delay as possible. They 
pledged their honour that they would join him ; and they 
undertook to secure the cooperation of as large a number of 
persons as could safely be trusted with so momentous and perilous 
a secret. On one point they thought it their duty to remonstrate 
with His Highness. He had not taken advantage of the opinion 
which the great body of the English people had formed touch- 
ins: the late birth. He had, on the contrarv, sent conoratula- 
tions to Whitehall, and had thus seemed to acknowledge that 
the child who was called Prince of Wales was rightful heir of 
the throne. This was a grave error, and had damped the zeal 
of many. Isot one person in a thousand doubted that the 


boy was supposititious ; and the Prince would be wanting to his 
own interests if the suspicious circumstances which had attended 
the Queen's confinement were not put prominently forward 
among his reasons for taking arms.* 

This paper was signed in cipher by the seven chiefs of the 
conspiracy, Shrewsbury, Devonshire, Dauby, Lumley, Comp- 
ton, Russell, and Sidney. Herbert undertook to be their mes- 
senger. His errand was one of no ordinary peril. He assumed 
the garb of a common sailor, and in this disguise reached the 
Dutch coast in safety, on the Friday after the trial of the 
Bishops. He instantly hastened to the Prince. Bentinck and 
Van Dykvelt were summoned, and several days were passed in 
deliberation. The first result of this deliberation was that the 
prayer for the Prince of Wales ceased to be read in the Princess's 

chapel. f 

From his wife William had no opposition to apprehend. 
Her understanding had been completely subjugated by his ; and, 
what is more extraordinary, he had won her entire affection. 
He was to her in the place of the parents whom she had lost by 
death and by estrangement, of the children who had been denied 
to her prayers, and of the country from which she was banished. 
His empire over her heart was divided only with her God. To 
her father she had probably never been attached : she had 
quitted him young : many years had elapsed since she had seen 
him : and no part of his conduct to her, since her marriage, had 
indicated tenderness on his part, or had been calculated to call 
forth tenderness on hers. He had done all in his power to dis- 
turb her domestic happiness, and had established a system of 
spying, eavesdropping, and talebearing under her roof. He 
had a far greater revenue than any of his predecessors had ever 
possessed, and allowed to her younger sister thirty or forty 
thousand pounds a year : t bui the heiress presumptive of his 
throne had never received from him the smallest pecuniary 
assistance, and was scarcely able to make that appearance which 

* See the invitation at length in Dalrymple. 

t Sidney's Letter to William, June 30, 1688 ; Avaux Neg. July 10-20, 12-22. 

J Bonrepaux, July 18-28, 1C87. 


became her high rank among European princesses. She had 
ventured to intercede with him on behalf of her old friend and 
preceptor Compton, who, for refusing to commit an act of flagi- 
tious injustice, had been suspended from his episcopal functions : 
but she had been ungraciously repulsed.* From the day on 
which it had become clear that she and her husband were deter- 
mined not to be parties to the subversion of the English consti- 
tution, one chief object of the politics of James had been to in- 
jure them both. lie had recalled the British regiments from 
Holland. He had conspired with Tyrconnel and with France 
against Mary's rights, and had made arrangements for depriving 
her of one at least of the three crowns to which, at his death, she 
would have been entitled. It was believed by the great body of 
his people, and by many persons high in rank and distinguished 
by abilities, that he had introduced a supposititious Prince of 
Wales into the royal family, in order to deprive her of a magnif- 
icent inheritance ; and there in no reason to doubt that she par- 
took of the prevailing suspicion. That she should love such a father 
was impossible. Her religious principles, indeed, were so strict 
that she would probably have tried to perform what she consid- 
ered as her duty, even to a father whom she did not love. On the 
present occasion, however, she judged that the claim of James to 
her obedience ought to yield to a claim more sacred. And indeed 
all divines and publicists agree in this, that, when the daughter 
of a prince of one country is married to a prince of another 
country, she is bound to forget her own people and her father's 
house, and, in the event of a rupture between her husband and 
her parents, to side with her husband. This is the undoubted 
rule even when the husband is in the wrong ; and to Mary the 
enterprise which William meditated appeared not only just, but 

But, though she carefully abstained from doing or saying 
anything that could add to his difficulties, those difficulties were 
serious indeed. They were in truth but imperfectly understood 
even by some of those who invited him over, and have been but 

* Birch's Extracts, in the British Museum. 


imperfectly described by some of those who have written the 
history of his expedition. 

The obstacles which he might expect to encounter on English 
ground, though the least formidable of the obstacles which stood 
in the way of his design, were yet serious. He felt that it would 
be madness in him to imitate the example of Monmouth, to cross 
the sea with a few British adventurers, and to trust to a general 
rising of the population. It was necessary, and it was pronounced 
necessary by all those who invited him over, that he should 
carry an army with him. Yet who could answer for the effect 
which the appearance of such an army might produce ? The 
government was indeed justly odious. But would the English 
people, altogether unaccustomed to the interference of Continen- 
tal powers in English disputes, be inclined to look with favour 
on a deliverer who was surrounded by foreign soldiers ? If any 
part of the royal forces resolutely withstood the invaders, would 
not that part soon have on its side the patriotic sympathy of 
millions ? A defeat would be fatal to the whole undertaking. 
A bloody victory gained in the heart of the island by the mer- 
cenaries of the States General over the Coldstream Guards and 
the Buffs would be almost as great a calamity as a defeat. Such 
a victory would be the most cruel wound ever inflicted on the 
national pride of one of the proudest of nations. The crown so 
won would never be worn in peace or security. The hatred with 
which the High Commission and the Jesuits were regarded 
would give place to the more intense hatred which would be 
inspired by the alien conquerors ; and many, who had hitherto 
contemplated the power of France with dread and loathing, 
would say that, if a foreign yoke must be borne., there was less 
ignominy in submitting to France than in submitting to Hol- 

These considerations might well have made William uneasy, 
even if all the military means of the United Provinces had been 
at his absolute disposal. But in truth it seemed very doubtful 
whether he would be able to obtain the assistance of a single 
battalion. Of all the difficulties with which he had to struggle, 
the greatest, though little noticed by English historians, arose 


from the constitution of the Batavian republic. No great society 
has ever existed during a long course of years under a polity so 
inconvenient. The States General could not make war or peace, 
could not conclude any alliance or levy any tax, without the 
consent of the States of every province. The States of a prov- 
ince could not give such consent without the consent of every 
municipality which had a share in the representation. Every 
municipality was, in some sense, a sovereign state, and, as such, 
claimed the right of communicating directly with foreign ambas- 
sadors, and of concerting with them the means of defeating 
schemes on which other municipalities were intent. In some 
town councils the party, which had, during several generations, 
regarded the influence of the Stadtholders with jealousy, had 
great power. At the head of this party were the magistrates of 
the noble city of Amsterdam, which was then at the height of 
prosperity. They had, ever since the peace of Nimeguen, kept 
up a friendly correspondence with Lewis through the instrumen- 
tality of his able and active envoy the Count of Avaux. Prop- 
ositions brought forward by the Stadtholder as indispensable 
to the security of the commonwealth, sanctioned by all the 
provinces except Holland, and sanctioned by seventeen of the 
eighteen town councils of Holland, had repeatedly been nega- 
tived by the single voice of Amsterdam. The only constitutional 
remedy in such cases was that deputies from the cities which 
were agreed should pay a visit to the city which dissented, for 
the purpose of expostulation. The number of deputies was un- 
limited : they might continue to expostulate as long as they 
thought fit ; and meanwhile all their expenses were defrayed by 
the obstinate community which refused to yield to their argu- 
ments. This absurd mode of coercion had once been tried with 
success on the little town of Gorkum, but was not likely to 
produce much effect on the mighty and opulent Amsterdam, 
renowned throughout the world for its haven bristling with 
innumerable masts, its canals bordered by stately mansions, 
its gorgeous hall of state, walled, roofed, and floored with 
polished marble, its warehouses filled with the most costly 
productions of Ceylon and Surinam, and its exchange resound- 


ing with the endless hubbub of all the languages spoken 
by civilised men.* 

The disputes between the majority which supported the 
Stadtholder and the minority headed by the magistrates of Am- 
sterdam had repeatedly run so high that bloodshed had seemed 
to be inevitable. On one occasion the Prince had attempted to 
bring the refractory deputies to punishment as traitors. On 
another occasion the gates of Amsterdam had been barred 
against him, and troops had beeu raised to defend the privi- 
leges of the municipal council. That the rulers of this great 
city would ever consent to an expedition offensive in the highest 
degree to Lewis whom they courted, and likely to aggrandise 
the House of Orange which they abhorred, was not likely. Yet 
without their consent, such an expedition could not legally be 
undertaken. To quell their opposition by main force was a 
course from which, in different circumstances, the resolute and 
daring Stadtholder would not have shrunk. But at that mo- 
ment it was most important that he should carefully avoid every 
act which could be represented as tyrannical. He could not 
venture to violate the fundamental laws of Holland at the very 
moment at which he was drawing the sword against his father 
in law for violating the fundamental laws of England. The 
violent subversion of one free constitution would have been a 
strange prelude to the violent restoration of another, f 

There was yet another difficulty which has been too little 
noticed by English writers, but which was never for a moment 
absent from William's mind. In the expedition which he medi- 
tated he could succeed only by appealing to the Protestant feel- 
ing of England, and by stimulating that feeling till it became, 
for a time, the dominant and almost the exclusive sentiment of 
the nation. This would indeed have been a very simple course, 
had the end of all his politics been to effect a revolution in our 
island and to reign there. But he had in view an ulterior end 
which could be obtained only by the help of princes sincerely 

* Avaux Neg. 0c lJ^ 1683. 
& Nov. 8, 

t As to the relation in which the Stadtholder and tho city of Amsterdam 

stood toward each other, see Avaux, passim. 


attached to the Church of Rome. He was desirous to unite 
the Empire, the Catholic King, and the holy See, with England 
and Holland, in a league against the French ascendency. It 
was therefore necessary that, while striking the greatest blow 
ever struck in defence of Protestantism, he should yet contrive 
not to lose the goodwill of governments which regarded Protes- 
tantism as a deadly heresy. 

Such were the complicated difficulties of this- great under- 
taking. Continental statesmen saw a part of those difficulties, 
British statesmen another part. One capacious and powerful mind 
alone took them all in at one view, and determined to surmount 
them all. It was no easy thing to subvert the English Govern- 
ment by means of a foreign army without galling the national 
pride of Englishmen. It was no easy thing to obtain from that 
Batavian faction which regarded France with partiality, and the 
House of Orange with aversion, a decision in favour of an 
expedition which would confound all the schemes of France, 
and raise the House of Orange to the height of greatness. It 
was no easy thing to lead enthusiastic Protestants on a crusade 
against Popery with the good wishes of almost all Popish 
governments and of the Pope himself. Yet all these things 
William effected. All his objects, even those which appeared 
most incompatible with each other, he attained completely and 
at once. The whole history of ancient and of modern times 
records no other such triumph of statesmanship. 

The task would indeed have been too arduous even for such 
a statesman as the Prince of Orange, had not his chief adver- 
saries been at this time smitten with an infatuation such as by 
many men not prone to superstition was ascribed to the special 
judgment of God. Not only was the King of England, as he 
had ever been, stupid and perverse : but even the counsel of the 
politic King of France was turned into foolishness. Whatever 
wisdom and energy could do William did. Those obstacles 
which no wisdom or energy could have overcome his enemies 
themselves studiously removed. 

On the great day on which the Bishops were acquitted, and 
on which the invitation was despatched to the Hague, James 


returned from Hounslow to Westminster in a gloomy and 
unquiet mood. He made an effort that afternoon to appear 
cheerful : * but the bonfires, the rockets, and above all the 
waxen Popes who were blazing in every quarter of London, 
were not likely to soothe him. Those who saw him on the 
morrow could easily read in his face and demeanour the violent 
emotions which disturbed his miijd.f During some days he 
appeared so unwilling to talk about the trial that even Barillon 
could not venture to introduce the subject.! 

Soon it began to be clear that defeat and mortification had 
only hardened the King's heart. Almost the first words which 
he uttered when he learned that the objects of his revenge had 
escaped him, were, " So much the worse for them." In a few 
days these words, which he, according to his fashion, repeated 
many times, were fully explained. He blamed himself, not for 
having prosecuted the Bishops, but for having prosecuted them 
before a tribunal where questions of fact were decided by juries, 
and where established principles of law could not be utterly 
disregarded even by the most servile Judges. This error he 
determined to repair. Not only the seven prelates who had 
signed the petition, but the whole Anglican clergy, should have 
reason to curse the day on which they had triumphed over their 
Sovereign. Within a fortnight after the trial an order was 
made, enjoining all Chancellors of dioceses and all Archdeacons 
to make a strict inquisition throughout their respective jurisdic- 
tions, and to report to the High Commission, within five weeks, 
the names of all such rectors, vicars, and curates, as had omitted 
to read the Declaration^ The King anticipated with delight 
the terror with which the offenders would learn that they were 
to be cited before a court which would give them no quarter. || 
The number of culprits was little, if at all, short of ten thou- 
sand : and, after what had passed at Magdalene College, every 
one of them might reasonably expect to be interdicted from 
all his spiritual functions, ejected from his benefice, declared 

* Adda July, fi-16, 1688. t Reresby's Memoirs. 

X Barillon July, 2-12, 1G88. 

§ London Gazette of July 10, 16.°8. The order bears date July 12. 
|| Barillon's own phrase, July G-1G, 1G88. 


incapable of holding any other preferment, and charged with 
the costs of the proceedings which had reduced him to beggary. 
Such was the persecution with which James, smarting from 
his great defeat in Westminster Hall, resolved to harass the 
clergy. Meanwhile he tried to show the lawyers, by a prompt 
and large distribution of rewards and punishments, that strenuous 
and unblushing servility, even when least successful, was a sure 
title to his favour, and that whoever, after years of obsequious- 
ness, ventured to deviate but for one moment into courage and 
honesty was guilty of an unpardonable offence. The violence 
and audacity which the apostate Williams had exhibited through- 
out the trial of the Bishops had made him hateful to the whole 
nation. # He was recompensed with a baronetcy. Holloway 
and Powell had raised their character by declaring that, in their 
judgment, the petition was no libel. They were dismissed from 
their situations-! The fate of Wright seems to have been, dur- 
ing some time, in suspense. He had indeed summed up against 
the Bishops : but he had suffered their counsel to question the 
dispensing power. He had pronounced the petition a libel . but 
he had carefully abstained from pronouncing the Declaration 
legal ; and, through the whole proceeding, his tone had been 
that of a man who remembered that a day of reckoning might 
come. He had indeed strong claims to indulgence : for it was 
hardly to be expected that any human impudence would hold 
out without flagging through such a task, in the presence of 
such a bar and of such an auditory. The members of the 
Jesuitical cabal, however, blamed his want of spirit : the Chan- 
cellor pronounced him a beast ; and it was generally believed 
that a new Chief Justice would be appointed. $ But no change 
was made. It would indeed have been no easy matter to sup- 
ply Wright's place. The many lawyers who were far superior 

* In one of the numerous ballads of that time are the following lines : 

"Both our Britons arc fooled, 
"Who the laws overruled. 
And next Parliament each will be plaguily schooled." 

The two Britons are Jeffreys and Williams, who were both native of Wales, 
t London Gazette, July 9, 1688. 
t Ellis Correspondence, July 10, 1688 ; Clarendon'6 Diary, Aug. 3, 1688. 


to him in parts and learning were, with scarcely an exception 
hostile to the designs of the government : and the very few 
lawyers who surpassed him in turpitude and effrontery were 
with scarcely an exception, to be found only in the lowest ranks 
of the profession, and would have been incompetent to conduct 
the ordinary business of the Court of King's Bench. Williams, 
it is true, united all the qualities which James required in a 
magistrate. But the services of Williams were needed at the 
bar ; and had he been removed thence, the crown would have 
been left without the help of any advocate even of the third 

Nothing had amazed or mortified the King more than the 
enthusiasm which the Dissenters had shown in the cause of the 
Bishops. Penn, who, though he had himself sacrificed wealth 
and honours to his conscientious scruples, seems to have im- 
agined that nobody but himself had a conscience, imputed the 
discontent of the Puritans to envy and dissatisfied ambition. 
They had not their share of the benefits promised by the Declar- 
ation of Indulgence : none of them had been admitted to any 
high and honourable post ; and therefore it was not strange that 
they were jealous of the Roman Catholics. Accordingly, within 
a week after the great verdict had been pronounced in Westmin- 
ster Hall, Silas Titus, a noted Presbyterian, a vehement Exclu- 
sionist, and a manager of Stafford's impeachment, was invited to 
occupy a seat in the Privy Council. He was one of the persons 
on whom the opposition had most confidently reckoned. But 
the honour now offered to him, and the hope of obtaining a large 
sum due to him from the crown, overcame his virtue, and, to the 
great disgust of all classes of Protestants, he was sworn in.* 

The vindictive designs of the King against the Church were 
not accomplished. Almost all the Archdeacons and diocesan 
Chancellors refused to furnish the information which was re- 
quired. The day on which it had been intended that the whole 
body of the priesthood should be summoned to answer for the 
crime of disobedience arrived. The High Commission met. It 

* London Gazette, July 9, 1688 ; Adda, July 13-23 : Evelyn's Diary, July 
12 ; Johnstone, Dec. 8-18, 1687, Feb. 6-16, 1688- 


appeared that scarcely one ecclesiastical officer had sent up a re- 
turn. At the same time a paper of grave import was delivered 
to the board. It came from Sprat, Bishop of Rochester. During 
two years, supported by the hope of an Archbishopric, he had 
been content to bear the reproach of persecuting that Church 
which he was bound by every obligation of conscience and hon- 
our to defend. But his hope had been disappointed. He saw 
that, unless he abjured his religion, he had no chance of sitting 
on the metropolitan throne of York. He was too goodnatured 
to find any pleasure in tyranny, and too discerning not to see the 
siijns of the coming retribution. He therefore determined to 
resign his odious functions ; and he communicated his determina- 
tion to his colleagues in a letter written, like all his prose com- 
positions, with great propriety and dignity of style. It was im- • 
possible, he said, that he could any longer continue to be a mem- 
ber of the Commission. He had himself, in obedience to the 
royal command, read the Declaration : but he could not presume 
to condemn thousands of pious and loyal divines who had taken 
a different view of their duty ; and since it was resolved to pun- 
ish them for acting according to their conscience, he must declare 
that he would rather suffer with them than be accessory to their 

The Commissioners read and stood aghast. The very faults 
of their colleague, the known laxity of his principles, the known 
meanness of his spirit, made his defection peculiarly alarming. 
A government must indeed be in danger, when men like Sprat 
address it in the language of Hampden. The tribunal lately so 
insolent became on a sudden strangely tame. The ecclesiastical 
functionaries who had defied its authority were not even repri- 
manded. It was not thought safe to hint any suspicion that 
their disobedience had been intentional. They were merely en- 
joined to have their reports ready in four months. The Commis- 
sion then broke up in confusion. It had received a death blow.* 

While the High Commission shrank from a conflict with the 
Church, the Church, conscious of its strength, and animated by a 
new enthusiasm, invited, by a series of defiances, the attack of the 

* Sprat's Letters to the Earl of Dorset ; London Gazette, Aug. 23, 1688. 


High Commission. Soon after the acquittal of the Bishops, the 
the venerable Ormond, the most illustrious of the Cavaliers of 
the great civil war, sank under his infirmities. The intelligence 
of his death was conveyed with speed to Oxford. Instantly the 
University, of which he had long been Chancellor, met to name 
a successor. One party was for the eloquent and accomplished 
Halifax, another for the grave and orthodox Nottingham. Some 
mentioned the Earl of Abingdon, who resided near them, and 
had recently been turned out of the lieutenancy of the county 
for refusing to join with the King against the established religion. 
But the majority consisting of a hundred and eighty graduates, vo- 
ted for the young Duke of Ormond, grandson of their late head, 
and son of the gallant Ossory. The speed with which they came 
to this resolution was caused by their apprehension that, if there 
were a delay even of a day, the King would attempt to force on 
them some chief who would betray their rights. The appre- 
hension was reasonable : for, only two hours after they had sep- 
arated, came a mandate from Whitehall requiring them to choose 
Jeffreys. Happily the election of young Ormond was already 
complete and irrevocable. * A few weeks later the infamous 
Timothy Hall, who had distinguished himself among the clergy 
of London by reading the Declaration, was rewarded with the 
Bishopric of Oxford, which had been vacant since the death of 
the not less infamous Parker. Hall came down to his see : but 
the Canons of his Cathedral refused to attend his installation : 
the University refused to create him a Doctor : not a single 
one of the academic youth applied to him for holy orders : no 
cap was touched to him ; and, in his palace, he found himself 
alone. f 

Soon afterwards a living which was in the gift of Magda- 
lene College, Oxford, became vacant. Hough and his ejected 
brethren assembled and presented a clerk ; and the Bishop of 

* London Gazette, July 26, 1G88 ; Adda, J,,1 y_ 2 '- ; Newsletter in the Mack- 

intosh Collection, July 25 ; Ellis Correspondence, July 28, 31 ; Wood's Fasti 

t Wood's Athenae Oxonienses ; Luttndl's Diary, Aug. 23, 1688. 


Gloucester, in whose diocese the living lay, instituted their 
presentee without hesitation.* 

The gentry were not less refractory than the clergy. The 
assizes of that summer wore all over the country an aspect 
never before known. The Judges, before they set out on their 
circuits, had been summoned into the King's presence, and had 
been directed by him to impress on the grand jurors and magis- 
trates, throughout the kingdom, the duty of electing such mem- 
bers of Parliament as would support his policy. They obeyed 
his commands, harangued vehemently against the clergy, reviled 
the seven Bishops, called the memorable petition a factious 
libel, criticised with great asperity Sancroft's style, which was 
indeed open to criticism, and pronounced that His Grace ought 
to be whipped by Doctor Busby for writing bad English. But 
the only effect of these indecent declamations was to increase 
the public discontent. All the marks of respect which had usu- 
ally been shown to the judicial office and to the royal commis- 
sion were withdrawn. The old custom was that men of good 
birth and estate should ride in the train of the Sheriff when he 
escorted the Judges to the county town ; but such a procession 
could now with difficulty be formed in any part of the kingdom. 
The successors of Powell and Holloway, in particular, were 
treated with marked indignity. The Oxford circuit had been 
allotted to them : and they had expected to be greeted in every 
shire by a cavalcade of the loyal gentry. But as they ap- 
proached Wallingford, where they were to open their commis- 
sion for Berkshire, the Sheriff alone came forth to meet them. 
As they approached Oxford, the eminently loyal capital of an 
eminently loyal province, they were again welcomed by the 
Sheriff alone. f 

The army was scarcely less disaffected than the clergy or 
the gentry. The garrison of the Tower had drunk the health 
of the imprisoned Bishops. The footguards stationed at Lam- 
beth had, with every mark of reverence, welcomed the Primate 

* Ronquillo, Sept. 17-27, 1688 ; Luttrell's Diary, Sept. 6. 

t Ellis Correspondence. August 4, 7, 1688 ; Bishop Sprat's relation of the 
Conference of November 6, 1688. 


back to liis palace. Nowhere had the news of the acquittal 
been received with more clamorous delight than at Hounslow 
Heath. In truth, the great force which the King had assembled 
for the purpose of overawing his mutinous capital had become 
more mutinous than the capital itself, and was more dreaded by 
the Court than by the citizens. Early in August, therefore, 
the camp was broken up, and the troops were sent to quarters 
in different parts of the country.* 

James nattered himself that it would be easier to deal with 
separate battalions than with many thousands of men collected 
in one mass. The first experiment was tried on Lord Lichfield's 
regiment of infantry, now called the Twelfth of the Line. 
That regiment was probably selected because it had been raised 
at the time of the Western insurrection, in Staffordshire, a 
province where the Roman Catholics were more numerous and 
powerful than in almost any other part of England. The men were 
drawn up in the King's presence. Their Major informed them 
that His Majesty wished them to subscribe an engagement 
binding them to assist in carrying into effect his intentions con- 
cerning the test, and that all who did not choose to comply 
must quit the service on the spot. To the King's great astonish- 
ment, whole ranks instantly laid down their pikes and muskets. 
Only two officers and a few privates, all Roman Catholics, 
obeyed his command. He remained silent for a short time. 
Then he bade the men take up their arms. " Another time," 
he said, with a gloomy look, " I shall not do you the honour to 
consult you." f 

It was plain that, if he determined to persist in his designs, 
he must remodel his army. Yet materials for that purpose he 
could not find in our island. The members of his Church, even 
in the districts where they were most numerous, were a small 
minority of the people. Hatred of Popery had spread through 
all classes of his Protestant subjects, and had become the ruling 
passion even of ploughmen and artisans. But there was another 

"* Luttrell's Diary, August 8, 1688. 

t This is told us by three writers who could well remember that time, Rennet, 
Eachard, and Oldmixon. See also the Caveat against the Whigs. 


part of his dominions where a very different spirit animated the 
great body of the population. There was no limit to the num- 
ber of Roman Catholic soldiers whom the good pay and quar- 
ters of England would attract across St. George's Channel. Tyr- 
connel had been, during some time, employed in forming out of 
the peasantry of his country a military force on which his mas- 
ter might depend. Already Papists, of Celtic blood and speech, 
composed almost the whole army of Ireland. Barillon earnestly 
and repeatedly advised James to bring over that army for the 
purpose of coercing the English. # 

James wavered. He wished to be surrounded by troops on 
whom he could rely : but he dreaded the explosion of national 
feeling which the appearance of a great Irish force on English 
ground must produce. At last, as usually happens when a weak 
man tries to avoid opposite inconveniences, he took a course 
which united them all. He brought over Irishmen, not indeed 
enough to hold down the single city of London, or the single 
county of York, but more than enough to excite the alarm and 
rage of the whole kingdom, from Northumberland to Cornwall. 
Battalion after battalion, raised and trained by Tyrconnel, land- 
ed on the western coast and moved towards the capital ; and 
Irish recruits were imported in considerable numbers, to fill up 
vacancies in the English regiments. f 

Of the many errors which James committed, none was more 
fatal than this. Already. he had alienated the hearts of his peo- 
ple by violating their laws, confiscating their estates, and perse- 
cuting their religion. Of those who had once been most zealous 
for monarchy, he had already made many rebels in heart. Yet 
he might still, with some chance of success, have appealed to the 
patriotic spirit of his subjects against an invader. For they were 
a race insular in temper as well as in geographical position. 
Their national antipathies were, indeed, in that age, unreasona- 
bly and unamiably strong. Never had the English been accus- 
tomed to the control or interference of any stranger. The ap- 

* Barillon, ~^ 1GS8 ; September 3-13, C-16, 8-18. 
t Luttrell's Diary, Aug. 27, 1GS8. 


pearance of a foreign army on their soil might impel them to 
rally even round a King whom they had no reason to love. Wil- 
liam might, perhaps, have been unable to overcome this difficult}' ; 
but James removed it. Not even the arrival of a brigade of 
Lewis's musketeers would have excited such resentment and 
shame as our ancestors felt when they saw armed columns of 
Papists, just arrived from Dublin, moving in military pomp along 
the high roads. No man of English blood then regarded the ab- 
original Irish as his countrymen. They did not belong to our 
branch of the great human family. They were distinguished 
from us by more than one moral and intellectual peculiarity, 
which the difference of situation and of education, great as that 
difference was, did not seem altogether to explain. They had 
an aspect of their own, a mother tongue of their own. When 
they talked English their pronunciation was ludicrous ; and 
their phraseology was grotesque, as is always the phraseology of 
those who think in one language and express their thoughts in 
another. They were therefore foreigners ; and of all foreigners 
they were the most hated and despised ; the most hated, for they 
had, during five centuries, always been our enemies ; the most de- 
spised, for they were our vanquished, enslaved, and despoiled en- 
emies. The Englishman felt proud when he compared his own 
fields with the desolate bogs whence the Rapparees issued forth to 
rob and murder, and his own dwelling with the hovels where the 
peasants and the hogs of the Shannon wallowed in filth together. 
He was a member of a society, far inferior, indeed, in wealth and 
civilisation, to the society in which we live, but still one of the 
wealthiest and most highly civilised societies that the world had 
then seen : the Irish were almost as rude as the savages of 
Labrador. He was a freeman : the Irish were the hereditary 
serfs of his race. He worshipped God after a pure and rational 
fashion : the Irish were sunk in idolatry and superstition. He 
knew that great numbers of Irish had repeatedly fled before a 
small English force, and that the whole Irish population had 
been held down by a small English colony ; and he very com- 
placently inferred that he was naturally a being of a higher 
order than the Irishman : for it is thus that a dominant race 
Vol. II.— 25 


always explains its ascendency and excuses its tyranny. That 
in vivacity, humour and eloquence, the Irish stand high among 
the nations of the world is now universally acknowledged. 
That, when well disciplined, they are excellent soldiers has been 
proved on a hundred fields of battle. Yet it is certain that, in 
the seventeenth century, they were generally despised in our 
island as both a stupid and a cowardly people. And these were 
the men who were to hold England down by main force while 
her civil and ecclesiastical constitution was destroyed. The 
blood of the whole, nation boiled at the thought. To be con- 
quered by Frenchmen or by Spaniards would have seemed com- 
paratively a tolerable fate. With Frenchmen and Spaniards we 
had been accustomed to treat on equal terms. We had some- 
times envied their prosperity, sometimes dreaded their power, 
sometimes congratulated ourselves on their friendship. In spite 
of our unsocial pride, we admitted that they were great nations, 
and that they could boast of men eminent in the arts of war 
and peace. But to be subjugated by an inferior caste was a 
degradation beyond all other degradation. The English felt 
as the white inhabitants of Charleston and New Orleans would 
feel if those towns were occupied by negro garrisons. The 
real facts would have been sufficient to excite uneasiness and 
indignation : but the real facts were lost amidst a crowd of wild 
rumours which flew without ceasing from coffeehouse to coffee- 
house and from alebench to alebench, and became more wonder- 
fid and terrible at every stage of the progress. The number of 
the Irish troops who had landed on our shores might justly 
excite serious apprehensions as to the King's ulterior designs : 
but it was magnified tenfold by the public apprehensions. It may 
well be supposed that tke rude kerne of Connaught, placed, : 
with arms in his hands, among a foreign people whom he hated, 
and by whom he was hated in turn, was guilty of some excesses. 
These excesses were exaggerated by report ; and, in addition to 
the outrages which the stranger had really committed, all the of- 
fences of his English comrades were set down to his account. 
From every corner of the kingdom a cry arose against the foreign 
barbarians who forced themselves into private houses, seized 


horses and wagons, extorted money, and insulted women. These 
men, it was said, were the sons of those who, forty-seven years be- 
fore, had massacred Protestants by tens of thousands. The his- 
tory of the rebellion of 1641, a history which, even when soberly 
related, might well move pity and horror, and which had been 
frightfully distorted by national and religious antipathies, was 
now the favourite topic of conversation. Hideous stories of houses 
burned with all the inmates, of women and young children 
butchered, of near relations compelled by torture to be the mur- 
derers of each other, of corpses outraged and mutilated, were 
told and heard with full belief and intense interest. Then it 
was added that the dastardly savages, who had by surprise com- 
mitted all these cruelties on an unsuspecting and defenceless 
colony, had, as soon as Oliver came among them on his great 
mission of vengeance, flung down their arms in panic terror, and 
sunk, without trying the chances of a single pitched field, into 
that slavery which was their fit portion. Many signs indicated 
that another great spoliation and slaughter of the Saxon settlers 
was meditated by the Lord Lieutenant. Already thousands of 
Protestant colonists, flying from the injustice and insolence of 
Tyrconnel, had raised the indignation of the mother country by 
describing all that they had suffered, and all that they had, with 
too much reason, feared. How much the public mind had been 
excited by the complaints of these fugitives had recently been 
shown in a manner not to be mistaken. Tyrconnel had trans- 
mitted for the royal approbation the heads of a bill repealing 
the law by which half the soil of Ireland was held, and he had 
sent to Westminster, as his agents, two of his Roman Catholic 
countrymen who had lately been raised to high judicial office ; 
^Nugent, Chief Justice of the Irish Court of King's Bench, a 
personification of all the vices and weaknesses which the English 
then imagined to be characteristic of the Popish Celt, and Rice, 
a Baron of the Irish Exchequer, who, in abilities and attain- 
ments, was perhaps the foremost man of his race and religion. 
The object of the mission was well known : and the two judges 
could not venture to show themselves in the streets. If ever 
they were recognised, the rabble shouted, '• Room for the Irish 


Ambassadors ; " and their coach was escorted with mock solem- 
nity by a train of ushers and harbingers bearing sticks with 
potatoes stuck on the points.* 1 

So strong and general, indeed, was at that time the aversion 
of the English to the Irish, that the most distinguished Roman 
Catholics partook of it. Powis and Bellasyse expressed, in 
coarse and acrimonious language, even at the Council board, 
their antipathy to the aliens, f Among English Protestants 
that antipathy was far stronger ; and perhaps it was strongest 
in the army. Neither officers nor soldiers were disposed to bear 
patiently the preference shown by their master to a foreign and 
a subject race. The Duke of Berwick, who was Colonel of the 
Eighth Regiment of the Line, then quartered at Portsmouth, 
gave orders that thirty men just arrived from Ireland should be 
enlisted. The English soldiers declared that they would not 
serve with these intruders. John Beaumont, the Lieutenant 
Colonel, in his own name and in the name of five of the Cap- 
tains, protested to the Duke's face against this insult to the 
English army and nation. " We raised the regiment," he said, 
Ci at our own charges to defend His Majesty's crown in a time 
of danger. We had then no difficulty in procuring hundreds of 
English recruits. We can easily keep every company up to its 
full complement without admitting Irishmen. We therefore do 
not think it consistent with our honour to have these strangers 
forced on us ; and we beg that we may either be permitted to 
command men of our own nation or to lay down our commis- 
sions." Berwick sent to Windsor for directions. The King, 
greatly exasperated, instantly despatched a troop of horse to 
Portsmouth with orders to bring the six refractory officers be- 
fore him. A council of war sate on them. They refused to 
make any submission : and they were sentenced to be cashiered, 
the highest punishment which a court martial was then compe- 
tent to inflict. The whole nation applauded the disgraced 
officers ; and the prevailing sentiment was stimulated by an 

* King's State of the Protestants of Ireland : Secret Consults of the Romish 
Party in Ireland. 

t Secret Consults of the Romish Party in Ireland. 


unfounded rumour that, while under arrest, they had been treats 
ed with cruelty.* 

Public feeling did not then manifest itself by those signs 
with which we are familiar, by large meetings, and by vehement 
harangues. Nevertheless it found a vent. Thomas Wharton, 
who, in the lust Parliament, had represented Buckinghamshire, 
and who had long been conspicuous both as a libertine and as a 
Whig, had written a satirical ballad on the administration of 
Tyrconnel. In this little poem an Irishman congratulates a 
brother Irishman, in a barbarous jargon, on the approaching 
triumph of Popery and of the Milesian race. The Protestant 
heir will be excluded. The Protestant officers will be broken. 
The Great Charter and the praters who appealed to it will be 
hanged in one rope. The good Talbot will shower commissions 
on his countrymen, and will cut the throats of the English. 
These verses, which were in no respect above the ordinary stand- 
ard of street poetry, had for burden some gibberish which was 
said to have been used as a watchword by the insurgents of 
Ulster in 1G41. The verses and the tune caught the fancy of the 
nation. From one end of England to the other all classes were 
constantly singing this idle rhyme. It was especially the delight 
of the English army. More than seventy years after the Revo- 
lution, Sterne delineated, with exquisite skill, a veteran who had 
fought at the Boyne and at Xamur. One of the characteristics 
of the good old soldier is his trick of whistling Lillibullero.f 

Wharton afterwards boasted that he had sung a King out of 

* History of the Desertion, 1GS9 ; compare the first and second editions ; 
Barillon, Sept. 8-18, 1C88 ; Van Cittera of the same date ; Life of James the Sec- 
ond, ii. 1G8. The compiler of the last mentioned "work says that Churchill 
moved the court to sentence the six officers to death. This story does not appear 
to have been taken from the King's papers. I therefore regard it as one of the 
thousand fictions invented at Sainl Germains for the purpose of blackening a 
character which was black enough without such daubing. That Churchill may 
have affected great indignation on this occasion, in order to hide the treason 
which he meditated is highly probable. But it is impossible to believe that a 
man of his sense would have urged the members of a council of war to inflict a 
punishment which was notoriously beyond their competence. 

t The song of LiUibullero is among the State Poems. In Percy's Relics the 
first part will be found, but not the second part, which was added after William's 
landing. In the Examiner, and in several pamphlets of 171-, Wharton is men- 
tioned as the author. 


three kingdoms. But in truth the success of Lillibullero was the 
effect, and not the cause, of that excited state of public feeling 
which produced the Revolution. 

While James was thus raising against himself all those 
national feelings which, but for his own folly, might have 
saved his throne, Lewis was in another way exerting himself 
not less effectually to facilitate the enterprise which William 

The party in Holland which was favourable to France was 
a minority, but a minority strong enough, according to the consti- 
tution of the Batavian Federation, to prevent the Stadtholdei* 
from striking any great blow. To keep that minority steady was 
an object to which, if the Court of Versailles had been wise, 
every other object would at that conjuncture have been postponed. 
Lewis however had, during some time, laboured, as if of set pur- 
pose, to estrange his Dutch friends ; and he at length, though not 
without difficulty, succeeded in forcing them to become his ene- 
mies at the precise moment at which their help would have been 
invaluable to him. 

There were two subjects on which the people of the United 
Provinces were peculiarly sensitive, religion and trade ; and 
both their religion and their trade the French King had assailed. 
The persecution of the Huguenots, and the revocation of the 
edict of Nantes, had everywhere moved the grief and indigna- 
tion of Protestants. But in Holland these feelings were strong- 
er than in any other country ; for many persons of Dutch birth, 
confiding in the repeated and solemn declarations of Lewis 
that the toleration granted by his grandfather should be main- 
tained, had, for commercial purposes, settled in France, and a 
large proportion of the settlers had been naturalised there. 
Every post now brought to Holland the tidings that these per- 
sons were treated with extreme rigour on account of their re- 
ligion. Dragoons, it was reported, were quartered on one. 
Another had been held naked before a fire till he was half 
roasted. All were forbidden, under the severest penalties, to 
celebrate the rites of their religion, or to quit the country into 
which they had, under false pretences been decoyed. The 


partisans of the House of Orange exclaimed against the cruelty 
and perfidy of the tyrant. The opposition was abashed and 
dispirited. Even the town council of Amsterdam, though 
strongly attached to the French interest and to the Arminian 
theology, and though little inclined to find fault with Lewis or 
to sympathise with the Calvinists whom he persecuted, could 
not venture to oppose itself to the general sentiment ; for in 
that great city there was scarcely one wealthy merchant who 
had not some kinsman or friend among the sufferers. Petitions 
numerously and respectably signed were presented to the Bur- 
gomasters, imploring them to make strong representations to 
Avaux. There were even suppliants who made their way into 
the Stadthouse, flung themselves on their knees, described with 
tears and sobs the lamentable condition of those whom they 
most loved, and besought the intercession of the magistrates. 
The pulpits resounded with invectives and lamentations. The 
press poured forth heartrending narratives and stirring ex- 
hortations. Avaux saw the whole danger. He reported to 
his court that even the well intentioned, — for so he always 
called the enemies of the House of Orange, — either partook of 
the public feeling or were overawed by it \ and he sug- 
gested the policy of making some concession to their wishes. 
The answers which he received from Versailles were cold and 
acrimonious. Some Butch families, indeed, which had not been 
naturalised in France, were permitted to return to their 
country. But to those natives of Holland who had obtained 
letters of naturalisation Lewis refused all indulgence. No 
power on earth, he said, should interfere between him and his 
subjects. These people had chosen to become his subjects ; and 
how he treated them was a matter with which no neighbouring 
state had anything to do. The magistrates of Amsterdam nat- 
urally resented the scornful ingratitude of the potentate whom 
they had strenuously and unscrupulously served against the 
general sense of their own countrymen. Soon followed another 
provocation which they felt even more keenly. Lewis began 
to make war on their trade. He first put forth an edict prohib- 
iting the importation of herrings into his dominions. Avaux 


hastened to inform his court that this step had excited great 
alarm and indignation, that sixty thousand persons in the 
United Provinces subsisted by the herring fishery, and that 
some strong measure of retaliation would probably be adopted by 
the States. The answer which he received was that the King 
was determined, not only to persist, but also to increase the duties 
on many of those articles in which Holland carried on a lucra- 
tive commerce with France. The consequence of these errors, 
committed in defiance of repeated warnings, and, as it should 
seem, in the mere wantonness of selfwill, was that now, when 
the voice of a single powerful member of the Batavian federa- 
tion might have averted an event fatal to all the politics of Lewis, 
no such voice was raised. The Envov, with all his skill, vain-* 
ly endeavoured to rally the party by the help of which he had, 
during several years, held the Stadtholder in check. The ar- 
rogance and obstinacy of the master counteracted all the efforts 
of the servant. At length Avaux was compelled to send to 
Versailles the alarming tidings that no reliance could be placed 
on Amsterdam, so long devoted to the French cause, that some 
of the well intentioned were alarmed for their religion, that others 
were alarmed for their trade, and that the few whose inclinations 
were unchanged could not venture to utter what they thought. 
The fervid eloquence of preachers who declaimed against the 
horrors of the French persecution, and the lamentations of 
bankrupts who ascribed their ruin to the French decrees, had 
wrought up the people to such a temper, that no citizen could 
declare himself favourable to France without imminent risk 
of being flung into the nearest canal. Men remembered that, 
only fifteen years before, the most illustrious chief of the party 
adverse to the House of Orange had been torn' to pieces by an 
infuriated mob in the very precinct of the palace of the States 
General. A similar fate might not improbably befall those 
who should, at this crisis, be accused of serving the purposes of 
France against their native land, and against the reformed 

* See the Negotiations of the Count of Araux. Tt would he almost irapossihle 
for me to cite all the passages which have furnished me with materials for this 


While Lewis was thus forcing his friends in Holland to be- 
come, or to pretend to become, his enemies, he was labouring 
with not less success to remove all the scruples which might 
have prevented the Roman Catholic princes of the continent 
from countenancing William's designs. A new quarrel had aris- 
en between the Court of Versailles and the Vatican, a quarrel 
in which the injustice and insolence of the French King were 
perhaps more offensively displayed than in any other transaction 
of his reign. 

It had long been the rule at Rome that no officer of justice 
or finance could enter the dwelling inhabited bv the minister who 
represented a Catholic state. In process of time not only the 
dwelling, but a large precinct round it, was held inviolable. It 
was a point of honour with every Ambassador to extend as 
widely as possible the limits of the region which was under his 
protection. At length half the city consisted of privileged dis- 
tricts, within which the Papal government had no more power 
than within the Louvre or the Escurial. Every asylum was 
thronged with contraband traders, fraudulent bankrupts, thieves 
and assassins. In every asylum were collected magazines of 
stolen or smuggled goods. From every asylum ruffians sallied 
forth nightly to plunder and stab. In no town of Christendom, 
consequently, was law so impotent and wickedness so audacious 
as in the ancient capital of religion and civilisation. On this 
subject Innocent felt as became a priest and a prince. He de- 
clared that he would receive no Ambassador who insisted on a 
right so destructive of order and morality. There was at first 
much murmuring; but his resolution was so evidently lust that 
all governments but one speedily acquiesced. The Emperor, 
highest in rank among Christian monarchs, the Spanish Court, 
distinguished among all courts by sensitiveness and pertinacity 
on points of etiquette, renounced the odious privilege. Lewis 
alone was impracticable. What other sovereigns might choose 

part of my narrative. The most important will be found under 1he following 
dates : 1085. Sept. 2'). Sent. 24, Get. 5. Deo. 20 : 1686. Jan. ?,. Nov. 22 : 1687, Got. 2, 
Nov. 0, Nov. If); 10S8. Julv 29. An?. 2D. Lord Lonsdale, in hi« Memoirs, justly 
remarks that, but for the mismanagement of Lewis, the city of Amsterdam would 
nave prevented the Revolution. 


to do, he said, was nothing to him. He therefore sent a mission 
to Rome, escorted by a great force of cavalry and infantry. The 
Ambassador marched to his palace as a general marches in 
triumph through a conquered town. The house was strongly 
guarded. Round the limits of the protected district sentinels, 
paced the rounds day and night, as on the walls of a fortress. The 
Pope was unmoved. "They trust/' he cried, "in chariots and in 
hoises ; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." 
He betook himself to his spiritual weapons, and laid the region 
garrisoned by the French under an interdict.* 

This«dispute was at the Height when another dispute arose, 
in which the Germanic body was as deeply concerned as the 

Cologne and the surrounding district were governed by an 
Archbishop, who was an elector of the empire. The right of 
choosing this great prelate belonged, under certain limitations, 
to the Chapter of the Cathedral. The Archbishop was also 
Bishop of Liege, of Munster, and of Hildesheim. His dominions 
were extensive, and included several strong fortresses, which in 
the event of a campaign on the Rhine would be of the highest 
importance. In time of war he could bring twenty thousand 
men into the field. Lewis had spared no effort to gain so 
valuable an ally, and had succeeded so well that Cologne had 
been almost separated from Germany, and had become an out- 
work of France. Many ecclesiastics devoted to the Court of 
Versailles had been brought into the Chapter, and Cardinal 
Furstemberg, a mere creature of that court, had been appoiuted 

In the summer of the year 1G88 the archbishopric became 
vacant. Furstemberg was the candidate of the House of Bour- 
bon. The enemies of that house proposed the young Prince 
Clement of Bavaria. Furstemberg was already a Bishop, and 
therefore could not be moved to another diocese except by a 
special dispensation from the Pope, or by a postulation, in which 
it was necessary that two thirds of the Chapter of Cologne 
should join. The Pope would grant no dispensation to a crea- 
• Professor Von Ranke, Die Romischen Papste, book viii. ; Burnet, i. 759. 


tare of France. The Emperor induced more than a third part 
of the Chapter to vote for the Bavarian prince. Meanwhile, 
in the Chapters of Liege, Munster and Hildesheim, the majority 
was adverse to France. Lewis saw, with indignation and alarm, 
that an extensive province which lie had begun to regard as a 
fief of his crown was about to become, not merely independent 
of him but hostile to him. In a paper written with great 
acrimony he complained of the injustice with which France was 
on all occasions treated by that See which ought to extend a 
parental protection to every part of Christendom. Many signs 
indicated his fixed resolution to support the pretensions of his 
candidate b}' arms against the Pope and the Pope's confederates.* 
Thus Lewis, by two opposite errors, raised against himself 
at once the resentment of both the religious parties between 
which Western I^urope was divided. Having alienated one 
great section of Christendom by persecuting the Huguenots, he 
alienated another by insulting the Holy See. These faults he 
committed at a conjuncture at which no fault could be committed 
with impunity, and under the eye of an opponent second in vig- 
ilance, sagacity, and energy, to no statesman whose memory his- 
tory has preserved. William saw with stern delight his adver- 
saries toiling to clear away obstacle after obstacle from his path. 
While they raised against themselves the enmity of all sects, he 
laboured to conciliate all. The great design which he meditated 
he with exquisite skill presented to different governments in 
different lights ; and it mast be added that, though those lights 
were different, none of them was false. He called on the 
princes of Northern Germany to rally round him in defence of 
the common cause of all reformed Churches. He set before the 
two heads of the House of Austria the danger with which they 
were threatened by French ambition, and the necessity of res- 
cuing Kngland from vassalage and of uniting her to the Euro- 
peau confederacy.'}" He disclaimed, and with truth, all bigotry. 

* Burnet, i. 758 ; Lewis's paper bears date - a —-*- 1G88. It will be found in the 

Sept. 6, 

Recueil des Traites, vol. iv. no. 219. 

t For the consummate dexterity with which he exhibited two different views 
of his policy to two different parties he was afterwards bitterly reviled by the 
Court of Saint Germain's. " Licet Foederatis publicus ille praedo baud aliud 


The real enemy, he said, of the British Roman Catholics was 
that shortsighted and headstrong monarch who, when he might 
easily have obtained for them a legal toleration, had trampled 
on law, liberty, property, in order to raise them to an odious 
and precarious ascendency. If the misgovernment of James 
were suffered to continue, it must produce, at no remote time, a 
popular outbreak, which might be followed by a barbarous per- 
secution of the papists. The Prince declared that to avert the 
horrors of such a persecution was one of his chief objects. If 
he succeeded in his design, he would use the power which he 
must then possess, as head of the Protestant interest, to protect 
the members of the Church of Rome. Perhaps the passions 
excited by the tyranny of James might make it impossible to 
efface the penal laws from the statute book ; but those laws 
should be mitigated by a lenient administration. No class would 
really gain more by the proposed expedition than those peace- 
able and unambitious Roman Catholics who merely wished to 
follow their callings and to worship their Maker without moles- 
tation. The only losers would be the Tyrconnels, the Dovers, 
the Albevilles, and other political adventurers, who, in return 
for flattery and evil counsel, had obtained from their credulous 
master governments, regiments, and embassies. 

While William exerted himself to enlist on his side the sym- 
pathies both of Protestants and of Roman Catholics, he exerted 
himself with not less vigour and prudence to provide the mili- 
tary means which his undertaking required. He could not 
make a descent on England without the sanction of the United 
Provinces. If he asked for that sanction before his design was 
ripe for execution, his intentions might possibly be thwarted 
by the faction hostile to his house, and would certainly be 
divulged to the whole world. He therefore determined to 
make his preparations with all speed, and, when they were 

aperte proponat nisi ut Gallici imperii exuberans amputetur potestas, verunta- 
men sibi et suis ex baeretica fsece complicibus, ut pro comperto babemus, longe 
aliud pvomittit, nempe ut, exciso vel enervato Francorum regno, ubi Catboli- 
earum partium summum jam robur situm est. breretica ipsorum pravitas per 
orbem Cbristiamim universum prsevaleat.— Letter of James to tbe Pope, evi- 
dently written in 1689. 


complete, to seize some favorable moment for requesting 
the consent of the confederation. It was observed by the 
agents of France that he was more busy than they had ever 
known him. Not a day passed on which he was not seen spur- 
ring from his villa to the Hague. He was perpetually closeted 
with his most distinguished adherents. Twenty-four ships of 
war were fitted out for sea in addition to the ordinary force 
which the commonwealth maintained. There was, as it chanced, 
an excellent pretence for making this addition to the marine ; 
for some Algerine corsairs had recently dared to show them- 
selves in the German Ocean. A camp was formed near Nime- 
guen. Many thousands of troops were assembled there. In 
order to strengthen this army the garrisons were withdrawn 
from the strongholds in Dutch Brabant. Even the renowned 
fortress of Bergopzoom was left almost defenceless. Field 
pieces, bombs, and tumbrels from all the magazines of the 
United Provinces were collected at the head quarters. All the 
bakers of Rotterdam toiled day and night to make biscuit. 
All the gunmakers of Utrecht were found too few to execute 
the orders for pistols and muskets. All the saddlers of Amster- 
dam were hard at work on harness and holsters. Six thousand 
sailors were added to the naval establishment. Seven thousand 
new soldiers were raised. They could not, indeed, be formally 
enlisted without the sanction of the federation : but they were 
well drilled, and kept in such a state of discipline that they 
might without difficulty be distributed into regiments within 
twenty-four hours after that sanction should be obtained. 
These preparations required ready money ; yet William had, 
by strict economy, laid up against a great emergency a treasure 
amounting to about two hundred and fifty thousand pounds 
sterling. What more was wanting was supplied by the zeal of 
his partisans. Great quantities of gold, not less, it was said, 
than a hundred thousand guineas, came to him from England. 
The Husruenots, who had carried with them into exile large 
quantities of the precious metals, were eager to lend him all that 
they possessed ; for they fondly hoped that, if he succeeded, 
they should be restored to the country of their birth ; and they 


feared that, if he failed, they should scarcely be safe even in the 
country of their adoption.* 

Through the latter part of July and the whole of August the 
preparations went on rapidly, yet too slowly for the vehement 
spirit of William. Meanwhile the intercourse between England 
and Holland was active. The ordinary modes of conveying in- 
telligence and passengers were no longer thought safe. A light 
bark of marvellous speed constantly ran backward and forward 
between Schevening and "the eastern coast of our island. f By 
this vessel William received a succession of letters from persons 
of high note in the Church, the state, and the army. Two of 
the seven prelates who had signed the memorable petition, Lloyd, 
Bishop of St. Asaph, and Trelawney, Bishop of Bristol, had, 
during their residence in the Tower, reconsidered the doctrine 
of nonresistance, and were ready to welcome an armed deliverer. 
A brother of the Bishop of Bristol, Colonel Charles Trelawney, 
who commanded one of the Tangier regiments, now known as 
the Fourth of the Line, signified his readiness to draw his sword 
for the Protestant religion. Similar assurances arrived from the 
savage Kirke. Churchill, in a letter written with a certain ele- 
vation of language, which was the sure mark that he was going 
to commit a baseness, declared that he was determined to per- 
form his duty to heaven and to his country, and that he put his 
honour absolutely into the hands of the Prince of Orange. Wil- 
liam doubtless read these words with one of those bitter and 
cynical smiles which gave his face its least pleasing expression. 
It was not his business to take care of the honour of other men, 
nor had the most rigid casuists pronounced it unlawful in a gen- 
eral to invite, to use, and to reward the services of deserters 
whom he could not but despise. $ 

Churchill's letter was brought by Sidney, whose situation in 
England had become hazardous, and who, having taken many 
precautions to hide his track, had passed over to Holland about 

* Avaux Neg. August 2-12, 10-20, 11-21, 14-24, 16-20, 17-27, ~^ les * 

t Avaux Neg. September 4-14, 1688. 

X Burnet, i. 705 ; Churchill's letter bears date Aug. 4. :g&8- 


the middle of August.* About the same time Shrewsbury and 
Edward Russell crossed the German Ocean in a boat which they 
had hired with great secrecy, and appeared at the Hague. 
Shrewsbury brought with him twelve thousand pounds, which he 
had raised by a mortgage on his estates, and which he lodged in 
the Bank of Amsterdam. f Devonshire, Dauby, and Lumley 
remained in England, where they undertook to rise in arms as 
soon as the Prince should set foot on the island. 

There is reason to believe that, at this conjuncture, William 
first received assurances of support from a very different quarter. 
Part of the history of Sunderland's intrigues is covered with 
an obscurity which it is not probable that any enquirer will ever 
succeed in penetrating : but, though it is impossible to discover 
the whole truth, it is easy to detect some palpable fictions. 
The Jacobites, for obvious reasons, affirmed that the revolution 
of 1G88 was the result of a plot concerted long before. Sun- 
derland they represented as the chief conspirator. He had, 
they averred, in pursuance of his great design, incited his too 
confiding master to dispense with statutes, to create an illegal 
tribunal, to confiscate freehold property, and to send the fathers 
of the Established Church to a prison. This romance rests on 
no evidence, and though it has been repeated down to our time, 
seems hardly to deserve confutation. No fact is more certain 
than that Sunderland opposed some of the most imprudent 
steps which James took, and in particular the prosecution of the 
Bishops, which really brought on the decisive crisis. But, even 
if this fact were not established, there would still remain one 
argument sufficient to decide the controversy. What conceiv- 
able motive had Sunderland to wish for a revolution ? Under 
the existing system he was at the height of dignity and pros- 
perity. As President of the Council he took precedence of the 
whole temporal peerage. As Principal Secretary of State he 
was the most active and powerful member of the cab' net. He 
might look forward to a dukedom. He had obtained die garter 
lately worn by the brilliant and versatile Bucking- ^oa, who, 

* William to Bentinck, Aug. 17-27, 1688. 
t Memoirs of the Duke of Shrewsbury, 1718. 


having squandered away a princely fortune and a vigorous in- 
tellect, had sunk into the grave deserted, contemned, and broken- 
hearted. * Money, which Sunderland valued more than hon- 
ours, poured in upon him in such abundance that, with ordinary 
management, he might hope to become, in a few years, one of 
the wealthiest subjects in Europe. The direct emolument of 
his posts, though considerable, was a very small part of what he 
received. From France alone he drew a regular stipend of near 
six thousand pounds a year, besides large occasional gratuities. 
He had bargained with Tyrconnel for five thousand a year, or 
fifty thousand pounds down, from Ireland. What sums he made by 
selling places, titles, and pardons can only be conjectured, but 
must have been enormous. James seemed to take a pleasure in 
loading with wealth one whom he regarded as his own convert. 
All fines, all forfeitures, went to Sunderland. On every grant 
toll was paid to him. If any suitor ventured to ask any favour 
directly from the King, the answer was, " Have you spoken to 
my Lord President ? " One bold man ventured to say that the 
Lord President got all the money of the court. " Well," re- 
plied His Majesty ; " he deserves it all." f We shall scarcely 
overrate the amount of the minister's gains, if we put them at 
thirty thousand pounds a year : and it must be remembered that 
fortunes of thirty thousand pounds a year were in his time 
rarer than fortunes of a hundred thousand pounds a year now 
are. It is probable that there was then not one peer of the 
realm whose private income equalled Sunderland's official in- 

What chance was there that, in a new order of things, a 
man so deeply implicated in illegal and unpopular acts, a mem- 
ber of the High Commission, a renegade whom the multitude, 
in places of general resort, pursued with the cry of Popish dog, 

* London Gazette, April 25, 28, 1687. 

t Secret Consults of the Romish Party in Ireland. This account is strongly 
confirmed by what Bonrepaux wrote to Seignelay, Sept. 12-22, 1687. " II (Sun- 
derland) amassera beaucoup d'argent, le roi son maitre lui donnant la plus grande 
partie de celui qui provient des confiscations ou des accommodemens que ceux 
qui out encouru des peiues font pour obtenir leur grace." 


would be greater and richer ? What chance that he would even 
be able to escape condign punishment ? 

lie had undoubtedly been long in the habit of looking for- 
ward to the time when William and Mary might be, in the or- 
dinary course of nature and law, at the head of the English 
government, and had probably attempted to make for himself 
an interest in their favour, by promises and services which, if dis- 
covered, would not have raised his credit at Whitehall. But it 
may with confidence be affirmed that he had no wish to see them 
raised to power by a revolution, and that he did not at all foresee 
such a revolution when, towards the close of June 1G88, he 
solemnly joined the communion of the Church of Rome. 

Scarcely however had he, by that inexpiable crime made 
himself an object of hatred and contempt to the whole nation, 
when he learned that the civil and ecclesiastical polity of England 
would shortly be vindicated by foreign and domestic arms. From 
that moment all his plans seem to have undergone a change. 
Fear bowed down his whole soul, and was so written in his face 
that all who saw him could read.* It could hardly be doubted, 
that, if there were a revolution, the evil counsellors who sur- 
rounded the throne would be called to a strict account : and 
anions those counsellors he stood in the foremost rank. The 
loss of his places, his salaries, his pensions, was the least that 
he had to dread. His patrimonial mansion and woods at 
Althorpe might be confiscated. He might lie many years in a 
prison. He might end his days in a foreign land a pensioner 
on the bounty of France. Even this was not the worst. Visions 
of an innumerable crowd covering Tower Hill and shouting 
with savage joy at the sight of the apostate, of a scaffold hung 
with black, of Burnet reading the prayer for the departing, and 
of Ketch leaning on the axe with which Russell and Monmouth 
had been mangled in so butcherly a fashion, began to haunt the 
unhappy statesman. There was yet one way in which he might 
escape, a way more terrible to a noble spirit than a prison or a 
scaffold. He might still, by a well timed and useful treason, 

* Adda says that Sunderland's terror was visible. Pf J - 1G88. 

£iov. 6, 

Vol. IL— 26 


earn his pardon from the foes of the government. It was in 
his power to render to them at this conjuncture services beyond 
all price : for he had the royal ear : he had great influence 
over the Jesuitical cabal ; and he was blindly trusted by the 
French Ambassador. A channel of communication was not 
wanting, a channel worthy of the purpose which it was to serve. 
The Countess of Sunderland was an artful woman, who, under 
a show of devotion which imposed on some grave men, carried 
on, with great activity, both amorous and political intrigues.* 
The handsome and dissolute Henry Sidney had long been her 
favourite lover. Her husband was well pleased to see her thus 
connected with the court of the Ha^ue. Whenever he wished 
to transmit a secret message to Holland, he spoke to his wife : 
she wrote to Sidney ; and Sidney communicated her letter to 
"William. One of her communications was intercepted and 
carried to James. She vehemently protested that it was a 
forgery. Her husband, with characteristic ingenuity, defended 
himself by representing that it was quite impossible for any 
man to be so base as to do what he was in the habit of doinsf. 
" Even if this is Lady Sunderland's hand," he said, " that is no 
affair of mine. Your Majesty knows my domestic misfortunes. 
The footing on which my wife and Mr. Sidney are is but too 
public. Who can believe that I would make a confidant of the 
man who has injured my honour in the tenderest point, of the 
man whom, of all others, I ought most to hate ? " | This 
defence was thought satisfactory : and secret intelligence was 
still transmitted from the wittol to the adulteress, from the 
adulteress to the gallant, and from the gallant to the enemies 
of James. 

It is highly probable that the first decisive assurances of 
Sunderland's support were conveyed orally by Sidney to Wil- 
liam about the middle of August. It is certain that,, from that 
time till the expedition was ready to sail, a most significant 
correspondence was kept up between the Countess and her 

* Compare Evelyn's account of her with what the Princess of Denmark wrote 
about her to the Hague, and with her own letter3 to Henry Sidney. 
t Bourepaux to Seignelay, July 11-21, 1G88. 


lover. A few of her letters, partly written in cipher, are still 
extant. They contain professions of good will and promises of 
service mingled with earnest entreaties for protection. The 
writer intimates that her husband will do all that his friends at 
the Hague can wish : she supposes that it will he necessary for 
him to go into temporary exile: but she hopes that his banish- 
ment will not be perpetual, and that his patrimonial estate will 
be spared ; and she earnestly begs to be informed in what place 
it will be best for him to take refuge till the first fury of the 
storm is over.* 

■ The help of Sunderland was most welcome. For, as the 
time of striking the great blow drew near, the anxiety of Wil- 
liam became intense. From common eyes his feelings were 
concealed by the icy tranquillity of his demeanour: but his 
whole heart was open to Bentinck. The preparations were not 
quite complete. The design was already suspected, and could 
not be lonof concealed. The Kino- of France or the city 
of Amsterdam might still frustrate the whole plan. If Lewis 
were to send a great force into Brabant, if the faction which 
hated the Stadtholder were to raise its head, all was over. " My 
sufferings, my disquiet," the Prince wrote, " are dreadful. I 
hardly see my way. Never in my life did I so much feel the 
need of God's guidance. "f Bentinck's wife was at this time 
dangerously ill ; and both the friends were painfully anxious 
about her. " God support you," William wrote, " and enable 
you to bear your part in a work on which, as far as human 
beings can see, the welfare of his Church depends. "t 

It was indeed impossible that a design so vast as that which 
had been formed against the King of England should remain 
during many weeks a secret. No art could prevent intelligent 
men from perceiving that William was making great military 
and naval preparations, and from suspecting the object with 
which those preparations were made. Early in August hints 

* See her letters in the Sidney Diary and Correspondence lately published. 
Mr. Fox, in his copy of Barillon's despatches, marked the 30th of August X.S. 
16S8, as the date from which it was quite certain that Sunderland was playing 

t Aug. 19-29, 1C88. J September 4-14, 1C88. 


that some great event was approaching were whispered up and 
down London. The weak and corrupt Albeville was then on 
a visit to England, and was, or affected to be, certain that the 
Dutch government entertained no design unfriendly to James. 
But, during the absence of Albeville from his post, Avaux per- 
formed, with eminent skill, the duties both of French and Eng- 
lish Ambassador to the States, and supplied Barillon as well as 
Lewis with ample intelligence. Avaux was satisfied that a 
descent on England was in contemplation, and succeeded in con- 
vincing his master of the truth. Every courier who arrived at 
Westminster, either from the Hague or from Versailles, brought 
earnest warnings.* But James was under a delusion which 
appears to have been artfully encouraged by Sunderland. The 
Prince of Orange, said the cunning minister, would never dare 
to engage in an expedition beyond sea, leaving Holland defence- 
less. The States, remembering what they had suffered and 
what they had been in danger of suffering during the great 
agony of 1672, would never incur the risk of again seeing an 
invading army encamped on the plain between Utrecht and 
Amsterdam. There was doubtless much discontent in Eng- 
land : but the interval was immense between discontent and 
rebellion. Men of rank and fortune were not disposed lightly 
to hazard their honours, their estates, and their lives. How 
many eminent Whigs had held high language when Monmouth 
was in the Netherlands ? And yet, when he set up his stand- 
ard, what eminent Whig had joined it ? It was easy to under- 
stand why Lewis affected to give credit to these idle rumours. 
He doubtless hoped to frighten the King of England into taking 
the French side in the dispute about Cologne. By such reason- 
ing James was easily lulled into stupid security. f The alarm 
and indignation of Lewis increased daily. The style of his 
letters became sharp and vehement. $ He could not understand, 
lie wrote, this lethargy on the eve of a terrible crisis. Was the 

* Avaux, July 19-29, Jl, i?^ August 11-21, 1GS8 ; Lewis to Barillon, August 

Aii','. lu, 
2-12, 1G-26. 

t Barillon, August 20-30, t ug ' *?' 1688 j Adda, £?£iL; Life of James, ii. 177 

' & ' Sept. 2, Sept. ^, ' 

Orig Mem. 

% Lewis to Barillon, Sept. 3-13, 8-18, 11-21, 1688. 


King bewitched ? Were his ministers blind ? Was it possible 
that nobody at Whitehall was aware of what was passing in 
England and on the Continent ? Such foolhardy security 
could scarcely be the effect of mere improvidence. There must 
j be foul play. James was evidently in bad hands. Barillon 
was earnestly cautioned not to repose implicit confidence in the 
English ministers : but he was cautioned in vain. On him, as 
on James, Sunderland had cast a spell which no exhortation 
could break. 

Lewis bestirred himself vigorously. Bonrepaux, who was 
far superior to Barillon in shrewdness, and who had always 
disliked and distrusted Sunderland, was despatched to London 
with an offer of naval assistance. Avaux was at the same time 
ordered to declare to the States General that France had 
taken James under her protection. A large body of troops was 
held in readiness to march towards the Dutch frontier. This 
bold attempt to save the infatuated tyrant in his own despite 
was made with the full concurrence of Skelton, who was now 
Envoy from England to the Court of Versailles. 

Avaux, in conformity with his instructions, demanded an 
audience of the States. It was readily granted. The assembly 
was unusually large. The general belief was that some over- 
ture respecting commerce was about to be made ; and the 
President brought a written answer framed on that supposi- 
tion. As soon as Avaux began to disclose his errand, signs 
of uneasiness were discernible. Those who were believed to 
enjoy the confidence of the Prince of Orange cast down their 
eyes. The agitation became great when the Envoy announced 
that his master was strictly bound by the ties of friendship and 
alliance to His Britannic Majesty, and that any attack on Eng- 
land would be considered as a declaration of war against France. 
The President, completely taken by surprise, stammered out a 
few evasive phrases ; and the conference terminated. It was 
at the same time notified to the States that Lewis had taken 
under his protection Cardinal Furstemberg and the Chapter of 

gept. 2, Sept. 3, 


The Deputies were in great agitation. Some recommended 
caution and delay. Others breathed nothing but war. Fa^el 
spoke vehemently of the French insolence, and implored his 
brethren not to be daunted by threats. The proper answer 
to such a communication, he said, was to levy more soldiers, 
and to equip more ships. A courier was instantly despatched 
to recall William from Minden, where he was holding a con- 
sulfation of high moment with the Elector of Brandenburg. 

But there was no cause for alarm. James was bent on 
ruining himself ; and every attempt to stop him only made him 
rush more eagerly to his doom. When his throne was secure, 
when his people were submissive, when the most obsequious of 
Parliaments was eager to anticipate all his reasonable wishes, 
when foreign kingdoms and commonwealths paid emulous court 
to him, when it depended only on himself whether he would be 
Lhe arbiter of Christendom, he had stooped to be the slave and 
the hireling of France. And now when, by a series of crimes 
and follies, he had succeeded in alienating his neighbours, his 
subjects, his soldiers, his sailors, his children, and had left him- 
self no refuge but the protection of France, he was taken with 
a fit of pride, and determined to assert his independence. That 
help which, when he did not want it, he had accepted with 
ignominious tears, he now, when it was indispensable to him, 
threw contemptuously away. Having been abject when he 
might, with propriety, have been punctilious in maintaining his 
dignity, he became ungratefully haughty at a moment when 
haughtiness must bring on him at once derision and ruin. He 
resented the friendly intervention which might have saved him. 
Was ever King to used ? Was he a child, or an idiot, that 
others must think for him ? Was he a petty prince, a Cardinal 
Furstemberg, who must fall if not upheld by a powerful patron ? 
Was he to be degraded in the estimation of all Europe, by an 
ostentatious patronage which he had never asked ? Skelton 
was recalled to answer for his conduct, and, as soon as he ar- 
rived, was committed prisoner to the Tower. Van Citters was 
well received at Whitehall, and had a long audience. He could, 
with more truth than diplomatists on such occasions think at all 


necessary, disclaim, on the part of the States General, any hostile 
project. For the States General had, as yet, no official knowl- 
edge of the design of William ; nor was it by any means impos- 
sible that they might, even now, refuse to sanction that design. 
James declared that he gave not the least credit to the rumours 
of a Dutch invasion, and that the conduct of the French govern- 
ment had surprised and annoyed him. Middleton was directed 
to assure all the foreign ministers that there existed no such 
alliance between France and England as the Court of Versailles 
had, for its own ends, pretended. To the Nuncio the King 
said that the designs of Lewis were palpable and should be 
frustrated. This officious protection was at once an insult and 
a snare. " My good brother," said James, " has excellent 
qualities ; but flattery and vanity have turned his head." * 
Adda, who was much more anxious about Cologne than about 
England, encouraged this strange delusion. Albeville, who 
had now returned to his post, was commanded to give friendly 
assurances to the States General, and to add some high lan- 
guage, which might have been becoming in the mouth of Eliza- 
beth or Oliver. " My master," he said, " is raised, alike by his 
power and by his spirit, above the position which France affects 
to assign to him. There is some difference between a King of 
England and an Archbishop of Cologne." The reception of 
Bonrepaux at Whitehall was cold. The naval succours which 
he offered were not absolutely declined : but he was forced to 
return without having settled anything ; and the Envoys, both 
of the United Provinces and of the House of Austria, were in- 
formed that his mission had been disagreeable to the King and 
had produced no result. After the Revolution Sunderland 
boasted, and probably with truth, that he had induced his mas- 
ter to reject the proffered assistance of France.f 

* u Che 1' adulazione e la vanta gli avevano tomato il capo."— Adda, -A— g -.. 3 '* 
1688. ^ Sept - 10 

t Van Citters, Sept. 11-21, 1688 ; Avaux.Sept. 17-27, ^^^Barillon J^^S 

Oct. 7, ' Oct. 3, 

"Wagenaar, book lx. ; Sunderland's Apology. It has been often asserted that 
James declined the help of a French array. The truth is that no such army was 
offered. Indeed, the French troops would have served James much more 
effectually by menacing the frontiers of Holland than by crossing the Channel, 


The perverse folly of James naturally excited the indigna- 
tion of his powerful neighbour. Lewis complained that, in 
return for the greatest service which he could render to the 
English government, that government had given him the lie in 
the face of all Christendom. He justly remarked that what 
Avaux had said, touching the alliance between France and 
Great Britain, was true according to the spirit, though perhaps 
not according to the letter. There was not indeed a treaty 
digested into articles, signed, sealed, and ratified : but assur- 
ances equivalent in the estimation of honourable men to such 
a treaty had, during some yedrs, been frequently exchanged 
between the two Courts. Lewis added that, high as was his 
own place in Europe, he should never be so absurdly jealous of 
his dignity as to see an insult in any act prompted by friendship. 
Bat James was in a very different situation, and would soon learn 
the value of that aid which he had so ungraciously rejected.* 

Yet, notwithstanding the stupidity and ingratitude of James, 
it would have been wise in Lewis to persist in the resolution 
which had been notified to the States General. Avaux, whose 
sagacity and judgment made him an antagonist worthy of Wil- 
liam, was decidedly of this opinion. The first object of the 
French government, — so the skilful Envoy reasoned, — ought to 
be to prevent the intended descent on England. The way to 
prevent that descent was to invade the Spanish Netherlands, and 
to menace the Batavian frontier. The Prince of Orange, indeed, 
was so bent on his darling enterprise that he would persist, even 
if the white flag were flying on the walls of Brussels. He had 
actually said that, if the Spaniards could only manage to keep 
Ostend, Mons, and Namur till the next spring, he would then 
return from England with a force which would soon recover all 
that had been lost. But, though such was the Prince's opinion, 
it was not the opinion of the States. They would not readily 
consent to send their Captain General and the flower of their 
army across the German Ocean, while a formidable enemy threat- 
ened their own territory.f 

Lewis admitted the force of these reasonings : but he had al- 

* Lewis to Barillou, Sept. 20-30, 1688. t Avaux, ^P^JL Oct. 4-11, 1688. 

Oct. i, 


ready resolved on a different line of action. Perhaps he had 
heen provoked by the discourtesy and wrongheadedness of the 
English government, and indulged his temper at the expense of 
his interest. Perhaps he was misled by the counsels of his 
minister of war, Louvois, whose influence was great, and who re- 
garded Avaux with no friendly feeling. It was determined to 
strike in a quarter remote from Holland a great and unexpected 
blow. Lewis suddenly withdrew his troops from Flanders, and 
poured them into Germany. One army, placed under the nom- 
inal command of the Dauphin, but really directed by the Duke 
of Duras and by Vauban, the father of the science of fortification, 
invested Philipsburg. Another, led by the Marquess of Bouf- 
flers, seized Worms, Mentz, and Treves. A third, commanded 
by the Marquess of Humieres, entered Bonn. All down the 
Rhine, from Baden to Cologne, the French arms were victori- 
ous. The news of the fall of Philipsburg reached Versailles on 
All Saints day, while the court was listening to a sermon in the 
chapel. The King made a sign to the preacher to stop, an- 
nounced the good news to the congregation, and kneeling down, 
returned thanks to God for this great success. The audience wept 
for joy.* The tidings were eagerly welcomed by the susceptible 
people of France. Poets celebrated the triumphs of their mag- 
nificent patron. Orators extolled from the pulpit the wisdom 
and magnanimity of the eldest son of the Church. The Te Deum 
was sung with unwonted pomp ; and the solemn notes of the 
organ were mingled with the clash of the cymbal and the blast 
of the trumpet. But there was little cause for rejoicing. The 
great statesman who was at the head of the European coalition 
smiled inwardly at the misdirected energy of his foe. Lewis 
had indeed, by his promptitude, gained some advantages on the 
side of Germany : but those advantages would avail little if Eng- 
land, inactive and inglorious under four successive kings, should 
suddenly resume her old rank in Europe. A few weeks would 
suffice for the enterprise on which the fate of the world depend- 
ed ; and for a few weeks the United Provinces were in security. 

* Madame de Sevigne, ^- ct * 2 l' 1688. 


"William now urged on his preparations with indefatigable 
activity,, and with less secrecy than he had hitherto thought ne- 
cessary. Assurances of support came pouring in daily from for- 
eign courts. Opposition had become extinct at the Hague. It 
was in vain that Avaux, even at this last moment, exerted all 
his skill to reanimate the faction which had contended against 
three generations of the House of Orange. The chiefs of that 
faction indeed, still regarded the Stadtholder with no friendly 
feeling. They had reason to fear that, if he prospered in Eng- 
land, he would become absolute master of Holland. Neverthe- 
less the errors of the court of Versailles, and the dexterity with 
which he had availed himself of those errors, made it impossible 
to continue the struggle against him. He saw that the time had 
come for demanding the sanction of the States. Amsterdam 
was the head quarters of the party hostile to his line, his office, 
and his person ; and even from Amsterdam he had at this mo- 
ment nothing to apprehend. Some of the chief functionaries 
of that city had been repeatedly closeted with him, with Dyk- 
velt, and with Bentinck, and had been induced to promise that 
they would promote, or at least that they would not oppose, the 
great design : some were exasperated by the commercial edicts 
of Lewis : some were in deep distress for kinsmen and friends 
who were harassed bv the French dragoons : some shrank from 
the responsibility of causing a schism which might be fatal to 
the Batavian federation ; and some were afraid of the common 
people ; who, stimulated by the exhortations of zealous preach- 
ers, were ready to execute summary justice on any traitor who 
should, at this crisis, be false to the Protestant cause. The ma- 
jority, therefore, of that town council which had long been de- 
voted to France pronounced in favour of William's undertaking. 
Thenceforth all fear of opposition in any part of the United 
Provinces was at an end ; and the full sanction of the federation 
to his enterprise was, in secret sittings, formally given.* 

The Prince had already fixed upon a general well qualified to 

* Witsen MS. quoted by Wagenaar ; Lord Lonsdale's Memoirs ; Avaux, Oct. 
4-14, 5-15, 16SS. The formal declaration of the States General, dated Oct. 18-28, 
will be found in the Recuil des Traite6, vol. iv. No. 262. 


be second in command. This was indeed no light matter. A 
random shot or the dagger of an assassin might in a moment 
leave the expedition without a head. It was necessary that a 
successor should be ready to fill the vacant place. Yet it was 
impossible to make choice of any Englishman without giving 
offence either to the Whigs or to the Tories ; nor had any Eng- 
lishman then living shown that he possessed the military skill 
necessary for the conduct of a campaign. On the other 
hand it was not easy to assign preeminence to a foreigner with- 
out wounding the national sensibility of the haughty islanders. 
One man there was, and only one in Europe, to whom no 
objection could be found, Frederic, Count of Schomberg, 
m German, sprung from a noble house of the Palatinate. He 
was generally esteemed the greatest living master of the art 
of war. His rectitude and piety, tried by strong temptations 
and never found wanting, commanded general respect and con- 
fidence. Though a Protestant, he had been, during many years, 
in the service of Lewis, and had, in spite of the ill offices of the 
Jesuits, extorted from his employer, by a series of great actions, 
the staff of a Marshal of France. When persecution began to 
rage, the brave veteran steadfastly refused to purchase the royal 
favour by apostasy, resigned, without one murmur, all his 
honours and commands, quitted his adopted country for ever, 
and took refuge at the court of Berlin. He had long passed his 
seventieth year : but both his mind and his body were still in 
full vigour. He had been in England, and was much loved and 
honoured there. He had indeed a recommendation of which 
very few foreigners could then boast ; for he spoke our language 
not only intelligibly, but with grace and purity. He was, with 
the consent of the Elector of Brandenburg, and with the warm 
approbation of the chiefs of all the English parties, appointed 
William's lieutenant.* 

And now the Hague was crowded with British adventurers 
of all the various factions which the tyranny of James had 
united in a strange coalition, old royalists who had shed their 

* Abrege de la Vie de Frederic Due de Schoinberg, 1G90 ; Sidney to William, 
June 30, 16S8 ; Burnet, i.G77. 


blood for the throne, old agitators of the army of the Parliament, 
Tories who had been persecuted in the days of the Exclusion 
"Bill, Whigs who had fled to the Continent for their share in the 
Rye House plot. 

Conspicuous in this great assemblage were Charles Gerard, 
Earl of Macclesfield, an ancient Cavalier who had fought for 
Charles the First and had shared the exile of Charles the 
Second ; Archibald Campbell, who was the eldest son of the 
unfortunate Argyle, but had inherited nothing except an illus- 
trious name and the inalienable affection of a numerous clan ; 
Charles Paulet, Earl of Wiltshire, heir apparent of the Mar- 
quisate of Winchester ; and Peregrine Osborne, Lord Dum- 
blane, heir apparent of the Earldom of Dan by. Mordaunt, 
exulting in the prospect of adventures irresistibly attractive to 
his fiery nature, was among the foremost volunteers. Fletcher 
of Saltoun had learned, while guarding the frontier of Chris- 
tendom against the infidels, that there was once more a hope of 
deliverance for his country, and had hastened to offer the help 
of his sword. Sir Patrick Hume, who had, since his flight from 
Scotland, lived humbly at Utrecht, now emerged from his ob- 
scurity : but fortunately, his eloquence could, on this occasion, 
do little mischief ; for the Prince of Orange was by no means 
disposed to be the lieutenant of a debating society such as that 
which had ruined the enterprise of Argyle. The subtle and 
restless Wildman, who had some time before found England an 
unsafe residence, and had escaped to Germany, repaired from 
his retreat to the Prince's Court. There too was Carstairs, a 
Presbyterian minister from Scotland, who in craft and courage 
had no superior among the politicians of his age. He had been 
entrusted some years before by Fagel with important secrets, 
and had resolutely kept them in spite of the most horrible tor- 
ments which could be inflicted by boot and thumbscrew. His 
rare fortitude had earned for him as large a share of the Prince's 
confidence and esteem as was granted to any man except Ben- 
tinck.* Ferguson could not remain quiet when a revolution 

* Burnet, i. 584 ; Mackay's Memoirs. 


was preparing. He secured for himself a passage in the fleet, 
and made himself busy among his fellow emigrants : but he 
found himself generally distrusted and despised. He had been 
a oreat man in the knot of ignorant and hotheaded outlaws who 
had urged the feeble Monmouth to destruction : but there was 
no place for a lowminded agitator, half maniac and half knave, 
among the grave statesmen and generals who partook the cares 
of the resolute and sagacious William. 

The difference between the expedition of 1685 and the ex- 
pedition of 1688 was sufficiently marked by the difference be- 
tween the manifestoes which the leaders of those expeditions 
published. For Monmouth Ferguson had scribbled an absurd 
and brutal libel about the burning of London, the strangling of 
Godfrey, the butchering of Essex, and the poisoning of Charles. 
The Declaration of William was drawn up by the Grand Pen- 
sionary Fagel, who was highly renowned as a publicist. Though 
weighty and learned, it was, in its original form, much too pro- 
lix : but it was abridged and translated into English by Burnet, 
who well understood the art of popular composition. It began 
by a solemn preamble, setting forth that, in every community, 
the strict observance of law was necessary alike to the happi- 
ness of nations and to the security of governments. The Prince 
ot Orange had therefore seen with deep concern that the fun- 
damental laws of a kingdom, with which he was by blood and 
by marriage closely connected, had, by the advice of evil coun- 
sellors, been grossly and systematically violated. The power 
of dispensing with Acts of Parliament had been strained to 
sucli a point that the whole legislative authority had been trans- 
ferred to the crown. Decisions at variance with the spirit of 
the constitution had been obtained from the tribunals by turning 
out Jud^e after Judo-e, till the bench had been filled with men 
ready to obey implicitly the directions of the government. 
Notwithstanding the King's repeated assurances that he would 
maintain the established religion, persons notoriously hostile to 
that religion had been promoted, not only to civil offices, but 
also to ecclesiastical benefices. The Government of the Church 
had, in defiance of express statutes, been entrusted to a new 


court of High Commission ; and in that court an avowed Papist 
had a seat. Good subjects, for refusing to violate their duty 
and their oaths, had been ejected from their property, in con- 
tempt of the great Charter of the liberties of England. Mean- 
while persons who could not legally set foot on the island had 
been placed at the head of seminaries for the corruption of 
youth. Lieutenants, Deputy Lieutenants, Justices of the Peace, 
had been dismissed in multitudes for refusing to support a per- 
nicious and unconstitutional policy. The franchises of almost 
every borough in the realm had been invaded. The courts of 
justice were in such a state that their decisions, even in civil 
matters, had ceased to inspire confidence, and that their servil- 
ity in criminal cases had brought on the kingdom the stain 
of innocent blood. All these abuses, loathed by the English 
nation, were to be defended, it seemed, by an army of Irish 
Papists. Nor was this all. The most arbitrary princes had 
never accounted it an offence in a subject modestly and peace- 
ably to represent his grievances and to ask for relief. But sup- 
plication was now treated as a high misdemeanour in England. 
For no crime but that of offering to the Sovereign a petition 
drawn up in the most respectful terms, the fathers of the Church 
had been imprisoned and prosecuted ; and every Judge who 
had given his voice in their favour had instantly been turned 
out. The calling of a free and lawful Parliament might indeed 
be an effectual remedy for all these evils ; but such a Parlia- 
ment, unless the whole spirit of the administration was changed, 
the nation could not hope to see. It was evidently the inten- 
tion of the Court to bring together, by means of regulated cor- 
porations and of Popish returning officers, a body which would 
be a House of Commons in name alone. Lastly, there were cir- 
cumstances which raised a grave suspicion that the child who 
was called Prince of Wales was not really born of the Queen. 
For these reasons the Prince, mindful of his near relation to 
the royal house, and grateful for the affection which the Eng- 
lish people had ever shown to his beloved wife and to himself, 
had resolved, in compliance with the request of many Lords 
Spiritual and Temporal, and of many other persons of all 


ranks, to go over at the head of a force sufficient to repel vio- 
lence. He abjured all thought of conquest. lie protested that, 
while his troops remained in the island, they should be kept un- 
der the strictest restraints of discipline, and that, as soon as the 
nation had been delivered from tyranny, they should be sent 
back. His single object was to have a free and legal Parlia- 
ment assembled : and to the decision of such a Parliament he 
solemnly pledged himself to leave all questions both public and 

As soon as copies of this Declaration were handed about the 
Hague, signs of dissension began to appear among the English. 
Wildman, indefatigable in mischief, prevailed on some of his 
countrymen, and, among others, on the headstrong and volatile 
Mordaunt, to declare that they would not take up arms on such 
grounds. The paper had been drawn up merely to please the 
Cavaliers and the parsons. The injuries of the Church and the 
trial of the Bishops had been put too prominently forward ; and 
nothing had been said of the tyrannical manner in which the 
Tories, before their rupture with the Court, had treated the 
Whigs. Wildman then brought forward a counterproject, pre- 
pared by himself, which, if it had been adopted, would have dis- 
gusted all the Anglican clergy, and four fifths of the landed 
aristocracy. The leading Whigs strongly opposed him. Rus- 
sell in particular declared that, if such an insane course were 
take/i, there would be an end of the coalition from which alone 
the nation could expect deliverance. The dispute was at length 
settled by the authority of William, who, with his usual good 
sense, determined that the manifesto should stand nearly as 
Faciei and Burnet had framed it.* 

While these things were passing in Holland, James had at 
length become sensible of his danger. Intelligence which could 
not be disregarded came pouring in from various quarters. At 
length a despatch from Albeville removed all doubts. It is said 
that, when the King had read it, the blood left his cheeks and 
he remained sometime speechless.! He might, indeed, well be 

* Burnet, i. 775, 780. 

t Eacliard'8 History of the Revolution, ii. 2. 


appalled. The first easterly wind would bring a hostile arma- 
ment to the shores of his realm. All Europe, one single power 
alone excepted, was impatiently waiting for the news of his 
downfall. The help of that single power he had madly rejected. 
Nay, he had requited with insult the friendly intervention which 
might have saved him. The French armies which, but for his 
own folly, might have been employed in overawing the States 
General were besieging Philipsburg or garrisoning Mentz. In 
a few da} r s he might have to fight, on English ground, for his 
crown and for the birthright of his infant son. His means were 
indeed in appearance great. The navy was in a much more 
efficient state than at the time of his accession ; and the improve- 
ment is partly to be attributed to his own exertions. He had 
appointed no Lord High Admiral or Board of Admiralty, but 
had kept the chief direction of maritime affairs in his own hands, 
and had been strenuously assisted by Pepys. It is a proverb 
that the eye of a master is more to be trusted than that of a 
deputy ; and, in an age of corruption and peculation, a depart- 
ment, on which a sovereign, even of very slender capacity, 
bestows close personal attention, is likely to be comparatively 
free from abuses. It would have been easy to find an abler 
minister of marine than James : but it would not have been 
easy to find, among the public men of that age, any minister of 
marine, except James, who would not have embezzled stores, 
taken bribes from contractors, and charged the crown wi^i the 
cost of repairs which had never been made. 

The King was, in truth, almost the only person who could be 
trusted not to rob the King. There had therefore been, during 
the last three years, much less waste and pilfering in the dock- 
yards than formerly. Ships had been built which were fit to go to 
sea. An excellent order had been issued increasing the allow- 
ances of Captains, and at the same time strictly forbidding them to 
carry merchandise from port to port without the royal permission. 
The effect of these reforms was already perceptible ; and James 
found no difficulty in fitting out, at short notice, a consider- 
able fleet. Thirty ships of the line, all third rates and fourth 
rates, were collected in the Thames, under the command of Lord 


Dartmouth. The loyalty of Dartmouth was not suspected ; 
and he was thought to have as much professional skill and knowl- 
edge as any of the patrician sailors who, in that age, rose to 
the highest naval commands without a regular naval training, 
and who were at once flag officers on the sea and colonels of in- 
fantry on shore * 

The regular army had, during some years, been the largest 
that any king of England had ever commanded, and was now rap- 
idly augmented. New companies were incorporated with the ex- 
isting regiments. Commissions for the raising of fresh regiments 
were issued. Four thousand men were added to the English 
establishment. Three thousand were sent for with all speed 
from Ireland. As many more were ordered to march south- 
ward from Scotland. James estimated the force with which he 
should be able to meet the invaders at near forty thousand 
troops, exclusive of the militia.f 

The navy and army were therefore far more than sufficient 
to repel a Dutch invasion. But could the navy, could the army, 
be trusted ? Would not the trainbands flock by thousands to 
the standard of the deliverer ? The party which had, a few 
years before, drawn the sword for Monmouth would undoubtedly 
be eager to welcome the Prince of Orange. And what had be- 
come of the party which had, during seven and forty years, been 
the bulwark of monarchy ? Where were now those gallant 
gentlemen who had ever been ready to shed their blood for the 
Crown ? Outraged and insulted, driven from the bench of justice, 
and deprived of all military command, they saw the peril of 
their ungrateful sovereign with undisguised delight. Where 
were those priests and prelates who had, from ten thousand pul- 
pits, proclaimed the duty of obeying the anointed delegate of 
God ? Some of them had been imprisoned : some had been 
plundered : all had been placed under the iron rule of the High 

* Pepys's Memoirs relating to the Royal Navy, 1690; Life of James the 

Second, ii. 168. Orig. Mem. ; Adda, Sept. 21, ; Van Citters, ff pt - 21 ' 

Oct. 1, Oct. 1, 

t Life of James the Second, ii. 186. Orig. Mem. ; Adda, f f^^f' ; Van Citters, 

<-. ~. Oct. a t 

Se pt. 21 

Oct. 1. 

Vol. II.— 27 


Commission, and were in hourly fear lest some new freak of 
tyranny should deprive them of their freeholds and leave them 
without a morsel of bread. That Churchmen would even now 
so completely forget the doctrine which had been their peculiar 
boast as to join in active resistance seemed incredible. But 
could their oppressor expect to find among them the spirit which, 
in the preceding generation, had triumphed over the armies of 
Essex and Waller, and had yielded only after a desperate 
struggle to the genius and vigour of Cromwell ? The tyrant 
was overcome by fear. He ceased to repeat that concession had 
always ruined princes, and sullenly owned that he must stoop to 
court the Tories once more.* There is reason to believe that 
Halifax was, at this time, invited to return to office, and that he 
was not unwilling to do so. The part of mediator between the 
throne and the nation was, of all parts, that for which he was 
best qualified, and of which he was most ambitious. How the 
negotiation with him was broken off is not known : but it is 
not improbable that the question of the dispensing power was 
the insurmountable difficulty. His hostility to the dispensing 
power had caused his disgrace three years before : nothing that 
had since happened had been of a nature to change his views ; and 
James was fully determined to make no concession on that 
point.f As to other matters His Majesty was less pertina- 
cious. He put forth a proclamation in which he solemnly 
promised to protect the Church of England and to maintain the 
Act of Uniformity. He declared himself willing to make great 
sacrifices for the sake of concord. He would no longer insist 
that Roman Catholics should be admitted into the House of 
Commons ; and he trusted that his people would justly appre- 
ciate such a proof of his disposition to meet their wishes. Three 
days later he notified his intention to replace all the magistrates 
and Deputy Lieutenants who had been dismissed for refusing 

* Adda. Sept,a ^ 1688. This despatch describes strongly James's dread of an 

' Oct. 8, 

universal defection of his subjects. 

t All the scanty light which we have respecting this negotiation is derived 
from Reresby. His informant was a lady whom he does not name, and who cer- 
tainly was not to be implicitly trusted. 


to support his policy. On the day after the appearance of this 
notification Compton's suspension was taken off.* 

At the same time the King gave an audience to all the 
Bishops who were then in London. They had requested ad- 
mittance to his presence for the purpose of tendering their coun- 
bel in this emergency. The Primate was spokesman. He 
respectfully asked that the administration might he put into the 
hands of persons duly qualified, that all acts done under pretence 
of the dispensing power might he revoked, that the Ecclesiasti- 
cal Commission might be annulled, that the wrongs of Magda- 
lene College mi^ht be redressed, and that the old franchises of 
the municipal corporation might be restored. He hinted very 
intelligibly that there was one most desirable event which would 
completely secure the throne and quiet the distracted realm. If 
His Majesty would reconsider the points in dispute between the 
Churches of Rome and England, perhaps, by the divine blessing 
on the arguments which the Bishops wished to lay before him, 
he might be convinced that it was his duty to return to the 
religion of his father and of his grandfather. Thus far, San- 
croft said, he had spoken the sense of his brethren. There re- 
mained a subject on which he had not taken counsel with them, 
but to which he thought it his duty to advert. He was indeed 
the only man of his profession who could advert to that subject 
without being suspected of an interested motive. The metro- 
politan see of York had been three years vacant. The Arch- 
bishop implored the King to fill it speedily with a pious and 
learned divine, and added that such a divine misfht without 
difficulty be found among those who then stood in the royal 
presence. The King commanded himself sufficiently to return 
thanks for this unpalatable counsel, and promised to consider 
what had been said.f Of the dispensing power he would not 
yield one tittle. No unqualified person was removed from any 
civil or military office. But some of Sancroft's suinrestions 
were adopted. Within forty-eight hours the Court of High 

* London Gazette, Sept. 24, 27, Oct. 1, 1688. 

t Tanner MSS. ; Burnet i. 784. Burnet, has, I think, confounded this audi- 
ence with an audience which took place a few weeks later. 


Commission was abolished.* It was determined that the char- 
ter of the City of London, which had been forfeited six years 
before, should be restored ; and the Chancellor was sent in state 
to carry back the venerable parchment to Guildhall. f A week 
later the public was informed that the Bishop of Winchester, 
who was by virtue of his office Visitor of Magdalene College, 
had it in charge from the King to correct whatever was amiss 
in that society. It was not without a long struggle and a bitter 
pang that James stooped to this last humiliation. Indeed he 
did not yield till the Vicar Apostolic Leyburn, who seems to 
have behaved on all occasions like a wise and honest man, 
declared that in his judgment the ejected President and Fellows 
had been wronged, and that on religious as well as on political 
grounds, restitution ought to be made to them.J In a few days 
appeared a proclamation restoring the forfeited franchises of 
all the municipal corporations. § 

James flattered himself that concessions so great, made in 
the short space of a month, would bring back to him the hearts 
of his people. Nor can it be doubted that such concessions, if 
they had been made before there was reason to expect an in- 
vasion from Holland, would have done much to conciliate the 
Tories. But gratitude is not to be expected by rulers who 
give to fear what they have refused to justice. During 
three years the king had been proof to all argument and to all 
entreaty. Every minister who had dared to raise his voice in 
favour of the civil and ecclesiastical constitution of the realm 
had been disgraced. A Parliament eminently loyal had 
ventured to protest gently and respectfully against a violation 
of the fundamental laws of England, and had been sternly 
reprimanded, prorogued, and dissolved. Judge after Judge 

* London Gazette, Oct. 8, 1688- t Ibid. 

% London Gazette, Oct. 15, 1688 ; Adda, Oct. 12-22. The Nuncio, though 
generally an enemy to violent courses, seems to have opposed the restoration of 
Hough, probably from regard for the interests of Giffard and the other Roman 
Catholics who were quartered in Magdalene College. Leyburn declared himself 
" nel sentimento ehe fosse stato uno spoglio, e cbe il possesso in cui si trovano 
ora li Cattolici fosse violento ed illegale, onde nou era privar questi di un dritt* 
acquisto, ma rendere agli altri quello che era stato levato con violeuza." 

§ London Gazette, Oct. 18, 1688. 


had been stripped of the ermine for declining to give decisions 
opposed to the whole common and statute law. The most 
respectable Cavaliers had been excluded from all share in the 
government of their counties for refusing to betray the public 
liberties. Scores of clergymen had been deprived of their 
livelihood for observing their oaths. Prelates, to whose stead- 
fast fidelity the King owed the crown which he wore, had on 
their knees besought him not to command them to violate the 
laws of God and of the land. Their modest petition had been 
treated as a seditious libel. They had been browbeaten, 
threatened, imprisoned, prosecuted, and had narrowly escaped 
utter ruin. Then at length the nation, finding that right was 
borne down by might, and that even supplication was regarded 
as a crime, began to think of trying the chances of war. The 
oppressor learned that an armed deliverer was at hand and 
would be eagerly welcomed by Whigs and Tories, Dissenters 
and Churchmen. All was immediately changed. That govern- 
ment which had requited constant and zealous service with 
spoliation and persecution, that government which to weighty 
reasons and pathetic entreaties had replied only by injuries and 
insults, became in a moment strangely gracious. Every 
Gazette now announced the removal of some grievance. It 
was then evident that on the equity, the humanity, the plighted 
word of the King, no reliance could be placed, and that he would 
govern well only so long as he was under the strong dread of 
resistance. His subjects were therefore by no means disposed 
to restore to him a confidence which he had justly forfeited, or 
to relax the pressure which had wrung from him the only good 
acts of his whole reign. The general impatience for the arrival 
of the Dutch became every day stronger. The gales which at 
this time blew obstinately from the west, and which at once 
prevented the Prince's armament from sailing and brought fresh 
Irish regiments from Dublin to Chester, were bitterly cursed 
and reviled by the common people. The weather, it was said, 
was Popish.* Crowds stood in Cheapside gazing intently at the 

* " Vento Papista," says Adda, 0ct _ 24 '. 1688. 

ftov. 3, 


weather-cock on the graceful steeple of Bow Church, and 
praying for a Protestant wind.* 

The general feeling was strengthened by an event which, 
though merely accidental, was not unnaturally ascribed to the 
perfidy of the King. The Bishop of Winchester announced 
that in obedience to the royal commands, he designed to restore 
the ejected members of Magdalene College. He fixed the 
twenty-first of October for this ceremon}', and on the twentieth 
went down to Oxford. The whole University was in expecta- 
tion. The expelled Fellows had arrived from all parts of the 
kingdom, eager to take possession of their beloved home. Three 
hundred gentlemen on horseback escorted the Visitor to his 
lodgings. As he passed the bells rang, and the High Street was 
crowded with shouting spectators. He retired to rest. The 
next morning a joyous crowd assembled at the gates of Magda- 
lene : but the Bishop did not make his appearance ; and soon it 
was known that he had been roused from his bed by a royal 
messenger, and had been directed to repair immediately to 
Whitehall. This strange disappointment caused much wonder 
and anxiety : but in a few hours came news which, to minds 
disposed, not without reason, to think the worst, seemed com- 
pletely to explain the King's change of purpose. The Dutch 
armament had put out to sea, and had been driven back by a 
storm. The disaster was exaggerated by rumour. Many ships, 
it was said, had been lost. Thousands of horses had perished. 
All thought of a design on England must be relinquished, at 
least for the present year. Here was a lesson for the nation. 
While James expected immediate invasion and rebellion, he had 
given orders that reparation should be made to those whom he 
had unlawfully despoiled. As soon as he found himself safe, 
those orders had been revoked. This imputation, though at 
that time generally believed, and though, since that time, 
repeated by writers who ought to have been well informed, was 
without foundation. It is certain that the mishap of the Dutch 
fleet could not, by an)^ mode of communication, have been known 

* The expression Protestant wind seems to have heen first applied to the east 
wind which kept Tyrcoimel, during some time, from taking possession of tho 
government of Ireland. See the first part of Lillibullero. 


at Westminster till some hours after the Bishop of Winchester 
had received the summons which called him away from Oxford. 
The King, however, had little right to complain of the suspicions 
of his people. If they sometimes, without severely examining 
evidence, ascribed to his dishonest policy what was really the 
effect of accident or inadvertence, the fault was his own. That 
men who are in the habit of breaking faith should be distrusted 
when they mean to keep it is part of their just and natural 

It is remarkable that James, on this occasion, incurred one 
unmerited imputation solely in consequence of his eagerness to 
clear himself from another imputation equally unmerited. The 
Bishop of Winchester had been hastily summoned from Oxford 
to attend an extraordinary meeting of the Privy Council, or 
rather an assembly of Notables, which had been convoked at 
Whitehall. With the Privy Councillors were joined, in this 
solemn sitting, all the Peers Spiritual and Temporal who chanced 
to be in or near the capital, the Judges, the crown lawyers, the 
Lord Mayor and the Aldermen of the City of London. A hint 
had been given to Petre that he would do well to absent himself. 
In truth few of the Peers would have chosen to sit with him. 
Near the head of the board a chair of state was placed for the 
Queen Dowager. The Princess Anne had been requested to 
attend, but had excused herself on the plea of delicate health. 

James informed this great assembly that he thought it 
necessary to produce proofs of the birth of his son. The arts of 
bad men had poisoned the public mind to such an extent that 
very many believed the Prince of Wales to be a supposititious 
child. But Providence had graciously ordered things so that 
scarcely any prince had ever come into the world in the presence 
of so many witnesses. Those witnesses then appeared and gave 
their evidence. After all the depositions had been taken, James 
with great solemnity declared that the imputation thrown on 
him was utterly false, and that he would rather die a thousand 
deaths than wrong any of his children. 

* All the evidence on this point is collected in Howell's edition of the State 


All who were present appeared to be satisfied. The evidence 
was instantly published, and was allowed by judicious and im- 
partial persons to be decisive.* But the judicious are always a 
minority; and scarcely anybody was then impartial. The 
whole nation was convinced that all sincere Papists thought it 
a duty to perjure themselves whenever they could, by perjury, 
serve the interests of their Church. Men who, bavins: been 
bred Protestants, had for the sake of lucre pretended to be con- 
verted to Popery, were, if possible, less trustworthy than sincere 
Papists. The depositions of all who belonged to these two 
classes were therefore regarded as mere nullities. Thus the 
weight of the testimony on which James had relied was greatly 
reduced. What remained was malignantly scrutinized. To 
every one of the few Protestant witnesses who had said any- 
thing material some exception was taken. One was notoriously 
a greedy sycophant. Another had not indeed yet apostatised, 
but was nearly related to an apostate. The people asked, as 
they had asked from the first, why, if all was right, the King, 
knowing, as he knew, that many doubted the reality of his 
wife's pregnancy, had not taken care that the birth should be 
more satisfactorily proved. Was there nothing suspicious in 
the false reckoning, in the sudden change of abode, in the 
absence of the Princess Anne and of the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury ? Why was no prelate of the Established Church in at- 
tendance ? Why was not the Dutch Ambassador summoned ? 
Why, above all, were not the Plydes, loyal servants of the 
crown, faithful sons of the Church, and natural guardians of 
the interest of their nieces, suffered to mingle with the crowd of 
Papists which was assembled in and near the royal bedchamber ? 
Why, in short, was there, in the long list of assistants, not a 
single name which commanded public confidence and respect ? 
The true answer to these questions was that the King's under- 
standing was weak, that his temper was despotic, and that he 
had willingly seized an opportunity of manifesting his contempt 
for the opinion of his subjects. But the multitude, not contented 

* The evidence will he found with much illustrative matter in Howell's 
edition of the State Trials. 


with this explanation, attributed to deep laid villany what was 
really the effect of folly and perverseness Nor was this opin- 
ion confined to the multitude. The Lady Anne, at her toilette, 
on the morning after the Council, spoke of the investigation 
with such scorn as emboldened the very tirewomen who were 
dressing her to put in their jests. Some of the Lords who had 
beard the examination, and had appeared to be satisfied, were 
really unconvinced. Lloyd, Bishop of St. Asaph, whose piety 
and learning commanded general respect, continued to the end 
of his life to believe that a fraud had been practised. 

The depositions taken before the Council had not been 
many hours in the hands of the public when it was noised abroad 
that Sunderland had been dismissed from all his places. The 
news of his disgrace seems to have taken the politicians of the 
coffeehouses by surprise, but did not astonish those who had 
observed what was passing in the palace. Treason had not 
been brought home to him by legal, or even by tangible, evidence : 
but there was a strong suspicion among those who watched him 
closely that, through some channel or other, he was in communica- 
tion with the enemies of that government in which he occupied 
so high a place He, with unabashed forehead, imprecated on 
his own head all evil here and hereafter if he was guilt}^. His 
only fault, he protested, was that he had served the crown too 
well Had he not given hostages to the royal cause ? Had he 
not broken down every bridge by which he could, in case of a 
disaster, effect his retreat ? Had he not gone all lengths in 
favour of the dispensing power, sate in the High Commission, 
signed the warrant for the commitment of the Bishops, appeared 
as a witness against them, at the hazard of his life, amidst the 
hisses and curses of the thousands who filled Westminster Hall ? 
Had he not given the last proof of fidelity by renouncing his 
religion, and publicly joining a Church which the nation 
detested ? What had he to hope from a change? What had he 
not. to dread ? These arguments, though plausible, and though 
set off by the most insinuating address, could not remove the 
impression which whispers and reports arriving at once from a 
hundred different quarters had produced. The King became 


daily colder and colder. Sunderland attempted to support him- 
self by the Queen's help, obtained an audience of Her Majesty, 
and was actually in her apartment when Middleton entered, and, 
by the King's orders, demanded the seals. That evening the 
fallen minister was for the last time closeted with the Prince 
whom he had flattered and betrayed. The interview was a 
strange one. Sunderland acted calumniated virtue to perfection. 
He regretted not, he said, the Secretaryship of State or the 
Presidency of the Council, if only he retained his Sovereign's 
esteem. " Do not, sir, do not make me the most unhappy gen- 
tleman in your dominions, by refusing to declare that you acquit 
me of disloyalty." The King hardly knew what to believe. 
There was no positive proof of guilt ; and the energy and pathos 
with which Sunderland lied might have imposed on a keener 
understanding than that with which he had to deal. At the 
French embassy his professions still found credit. There he 
declared that he should remain a few days in London, and show 
liimself at court. He would then retire to his country seat at 
Althorpe, and try to repair his dilapidated fortunes by economy. 
If a revolution should take place he must fly to France. His 
ill requited loyalty had left him no other place of refuge.* 

The seals which had been taken from Sunderland were de- 
livered to Preston. The same Gazette which announced this 
change contained the official intelligence of the disaster which 
had befallen the Dutch fleet. f That disaster was serious, 
though far less serious than the King and his few adherents, 
misled by their wishes, were disposed to believe. 

On the sixteenth of October, according to the English reck- 
oning, was held a solemn sitting of the States of Holland. The 
Prince came to bid them farewell. He thanked them for the 
kindness with which they had watched over him when he was 
left an orphan child, for the confidence which they had reposed 
in him durinsr his administration, and for the assistance which 
they had granted to him at this momentous crisis. He entreated 

* Barillon, Oct 8-18, 15-25, 18-28, £**> £fc» 2^:1688 ; Adda, °£* 

'Nov. 4, Nov. 6, Nov. 6, Nov. 5. 

t London Gazette, Oct. 29, 1688. 


them to believe that he had always meant and endeavoured to 
promote the interest of his country. He was now quitting 
them, perhaps never to return. If he should fall in defence of 
the reformed religion and of the independence of Europe, he 
commended his beloved wife to their care. The Grand Pen- 
sionary answered in a faltering voice ; and in all that grave 
senate there was none who could refrain from shedding tears. 
But the iron stoicism of William never gave way ; and he stood 
among his weeping friends calm and austere as if lie had been 
about to leave them only for a short visit to his hunting grounds 
at Loo.* 

The deputies of the principal towns accompanied him to his 
yacht. Even the representatives of Amsterdam, so long the 
chief seat of opposition to his administration, joined in paying 
him this compliment. Public prayers were offered for him on 
that day iu all the churches of the Hague. 

In the evening he arrived at Ilelvoetsluys and went on 
board of a frigate called the Brill. His flag was immediately 
hoisted. It displayed the arms of Nassau quartered with those 
of England. The motto, embroidered in letters three feet long, 
was happily chosen. The House of Orange had long used the 
elliptical device, " I will maintain." The ellipsis was now filled 
up with words of high import, " The liberties of England and 
the Protestant religion." 

The Prince had not been many hours on board when the 
wind became fair. On the nineteenth the armament put out to 
sea, and traversed, before a strong breeze, about half the distance 
between the Dutch and English coasts. Then the wind changed, 
blew hard from the west, and swelled into a violent tempest. 
The ships, scattered and in great distress, regained the shore 
of Holland as they best might. The Brill reached Ilelvoetsluys 
on the twenty-first. The Prince's fellow passengers had ob- 
served with admiration that neither peril nor mortification had 
for one moment disturbed his composure. He now, though 
suffering from sea sickness, refused to go on shore : for he con- 

* Register of the Proceedings of the States of Holland and West Friesland ; 
Burnet, i. 782. 


ceived that, by remaining on board, he should in the most ef- 
fectual manner notify to Europe that the late misfortune had 
only delayed for a very short time the execution of his purpose. 
In two or three days the fleet reassembled. One vessel only 
had been cast away. Not a single soldier or sailor was missing. 
Some horses had perished : but this loss the Prince with great 
expedition repaired ; and, before the London Gazette had 
spread the news of his mishap, he was again ready to sail.* 

His Declaration preceded him only by a few hours. On the 
first of November it began to be mentioned in mysterious whis- 
pers by the politicians of London, was passed secretly from man 
to man, and was slipped into the boxes of the post office. One 
of the agents was arrested, and the packets of which he was in 
charge were carried to Whitehall. The King read, and was 
greatly troubled. His first impulse was to hide the paper from 
all human eyes. He threw into the fire every copy which had 
been brought to him, except one ; and that one he would scarce- 
ly trust out of his own hands. f 

The paragraph in the manifesto which disturbed him most 
was that in which it was said that some of the Peers, Spiritual 
and Temporal, had invited the Prince of Orange to invade 
England. Halifax, Clarendon, and Nottingham were then in 
London. They were immediately summoned to the palace and 
interrogated. Halifax, though conscious of innocence, refused 
at first to make any answer. " Your Majesty asks me," said 
he " whether I have committed high treason. If I am sus- 
pected, let me be brought before my peers. And how can Your 
Majesty place any dependence on the answer of a culprit whose 
life is at stake ? Even if I had invited His Highness over, I 
should without scruple plead Not Guilty." The King declared 
that he did not at all consider Halifax as a culprit, and that he 
had asked the question as one gentleman asks another who has 
been calumniated whether there be the least foundation for the 
calumny. " In that case," said Halifax, " I have no objection 

* London Gazette, October 20, 1688 ; Burnet, i. 782 ; Bentinck to his wife, 

October 21-31, £^ 0ct24 ' ° c ^ 7 ± 1688. 
Nov, 1, Nov. 3, Nov. t>, 

t Van Citters, Nov. 2-12, 1688 ; Adda, Nov. 2-12. 


to aver, as a gentleman speaking to a gentleman, on my honour, 
which is as sacred as my oath, that I have not invited the 
Prince cf Orange over." * Clarendon and Nottingham said the 
same. The King was still more anxious to ascertain the 
temper of the Prelates. If they were hostile to him, his throne 
was indeed in danger. But it could not be. There was some- 
thing monstrous in the supposition that any Bishop of the 
Church of England could rebel against his Sovereign. Compton 
was called into the royal closet, and was asked whether he 
believed that there was the slightest ground for the Prince's 
assertion. The Bishop was in a strait ; for he was himself one 
of the seven who had signed the invitation ; and his conscience, 
not a very enlightened conscience, would not suffer him, it 
seems, to utter a direct falsehood. " Sir," he said, " I am quite 
confident that there is not one of my brethren who is not as 
guiltless as myself in this matter." The equivocation was 
ingenious : but whether the difference between the sin of such 
an equivocation and the sin of a lie be worth any expense o A 
ingenuity may perhaps be doubted. The King was satisfied. 
" I fully acquit you all," he said. " But I think it necessary 
that you should publicly contradict the slanderous charge 
brought against you in the Prince's Declaration." The Bishop 
very naturally begged that he might be allowed to read the 
paper which he was required to contradict : but the King would 
not suffer him to look at it. 

On the following day appeared a proclamation threatening 
with the severest punishment all who should circulate, or who 
should even dare to read William's manifesto.f The Primate 
and the few Spiritual Peers who happened to be then in London 
had orders to wait upon the King. Preston was in attendance 
with the Prince's Declaration in his hand. " My Lords," said 
James, " listen to this passage. It concerns you." Preston 
then read the sentence in which the Spiritual Peers were men- 
tioned. The King proceeded : " I do not believe one word of 

* Eonquillo, Nov. 12-22, 1688. " Estas respuestas," says Ronquillo, " son 
ciertas, aunque mas las encubrian en la corte." 

t London Gazette, Nov. 6, 1688. The Proclamation is dated November 2, 


this : I am satisfied of your innocence : but I think it fit to let 
you know of what you are accused." 

The Primate, with many dutiful expressions, protested that 
the King did him no more than justice. " I was born in Your 
Majesty's allegiance. I have repeatedly confirmed that allegi- 
ance by my oath. I can have but one King at one time. I 
have not invited the Prince over ; and I do not believe that a 
single one of my brethren has done so." " I am sure I have 
not," said Crewe of Durham. " Nor I," said Cartwrkdit of 
Chester. Crewe and Cartwright might well be believed ; for 
both had sate in the Ecclesiastical Commission. When Comp- 
ton's turn came, he parried the question with an adroitness 
which a Jesuit might have envied. " I gave Your Majesty my 
answer yesterday." 

James repeated again and again that he fully acquitted them 
all. Nevertheless it would, in his judgment, be for his service 
and for their own honour that they should publicly vindicate 
themselves. He therefore required them to draw up a paper 
setting forth their abhorrence of the Prince's design. They 
remained silent : their silence was supposed to imply consent ; 
and they were suffered to withdraw.* 

Meanwhile the fleet of William was on the German Ocean. 
It w r as on the evening of Thursday the first of November that 
he put to sea the second time. The wind blew fresh from the 
east. The armament, during twelve hours, held a course 
towards the northwest. The light vessels sent out by the 
English Admiral for the purpose of obtaining intelligence 
broughtback news which confirmed the prevailing opinion that 
the enemy would try to land in Yorkshire. All at once, on a 
signal from the Prince's ship, the whole fleet tacked, and made 
sail for the British Channel. The same breeze which favoured 
the voyage of the invaders, prevented Dartmouth from coming 
out of the Thames. His ships were forced to strike yards and 
topmasts ; and two of his frigates, which had gained the open 
sea, were shattered by the violence of the weather and driven 
back into the river.t 

* Tanner MSS. 

t Burnet, i. 787 ; Rapin ; Whittle's Exact Diary ; Expedition of the Prince of 


The Dutch fleet ran fast before the gale, and reached the 
Straits at about ten in the morning of Saturday, the third of 
November. William himself, in the Brill, led the way. More 
than six hundred vessels, with canvas spread to a favourable 
wind, followed in his train. The transports were in the centre. 
The men of war, more than fifty in number, formed an outer 
rampart. Herbert, with the title of Lieutenant Admiral Gen- 
eral, commanded the whole fleet. His post was in the rear, and 
many English sailors, inflamed against Popery, and attracted 
by high pay, served under him. It was not without great 
difficulty that the Prince had prevailed on some Dutch officers 
of high reputation to submit to the authority of a stranger. But 
the arrangement was eminently judicious. There was, in the 
King's fleet, much discontent and an ardent zeal for the Prot- 
estant faith. But within the memory of old mariners the 
Dutch and English navies had thrice, with heroic spirit and va- 
rious fortune, contended for the empire of the sea. Our sailors 
had not forgotten the broom with which Tromp had threatened 
to sweep the Channel, or the fire which De Ruyter had lighted 
in the dockyards of the Medway. Had the rival nations been 
once more brought face to face on the element of which both 
claimed the sovereignty, all their thoughts might have given 
place to mutual animosity. A bloody and obstinate battle might 
have been fought. Defeat would have been fatal to William's 
enterprise. Even victory would have deranged all his deeply 
meditated schemes of policy. He therefore wisely determined 
that the pursuers, if they overtook him, should be hailed in 
their own mother tongue, and adjured, by an admiral under 
whom they had served, and whom they esteemed, not to fight 
against old messmates for Popish tyranny. Such an appeal 
might possibly avert a conflict. If a conflict took place, one 
English commander would be opposed to another ; nor would 
the pride of the islanders be wounded by learning that Dart- 
mouth had been compelled to strike to Herbert.* 

Orange to England, 1G88 ; History of the Desertion, 1G88 ; Dartmouth to James, 
Nov. 5. 1688, in Dalrymple. 

* Avaux. July 12-22, Aug. 14-24, 1C88. On this subject, Mr. De Jonge, who is 
connected by affinity with the descendants of the Dutch Admiral Evertsen, has 


Happily William's precautions were not necessary. Soon 
after midday he passed the Straits. His fleet spread to within 
a league of Dover on the north and of Calais on the south. 
The men of war on the extreme right and left saluted both for- 
tresses at once. The troops appeared under arms on the decks. 
The flourish of trumpets, the clash of cymbals, and the rolling 
of drums were distinctly heard at once on the English and 
French shores. An innumerable company of gazers blackened 
the white beach of Kent. Another mighty multitude covered 
the coast of Picardy. Rapin de Thoyras, who, driven by per- 
secution from his country, had taken service in the Dutch army, 
and now went with the Prince to England, described the spec- 
tacle, many years later as the most magnificent and affecting 
that was ever seen by human eyes. At sunset the armament 
was off Beachy Head. Then the lights were kindled. The 
sea was in a blaze for many miles. But the eyes of all the 
steersmen were directed throughout the night to three huge 
lanterns which flamed on the stern of the Brill.* 

Meanwhile a courier had been riding post from Dover Castle 
to Whitehall with news that the Dutch had passed the Straits 
and were steering westward. It was necessary to make an 
immediate change in all the military arrangements. Messengers 
were despatched in every direction. Officers were roused from 
their beds at dead of night. At three on the Sunday morning 
there was a great muster by torchlight in Hyde Park. The 
King had sent several regiments northward in the expectation 
that William would land in Yorkshire. Expresses were des- 
patched to recall them. All the forces except those which were 
necessary to keep the peace of the capital were ordered to move 
to the West. Salisbury was appointed as the place of rendez- 
vous ; but, as it was thought possible that Portsmouth might be 

kindly communicated to me some interesting information derived from family 
papers. In a letter to Bentinck, dated Sept. 6-16, 1688, William insists strongly 
on the importance of avoiding an action, and begs Bentinck to represent this to 
Herbert. " Ce n'est pas le terns de faire voir sa bravoure, ni de se battre si Ton 
le pent eviter. Je luy l'ai deja dit : mais il sera necessaire que vous le rep6tiez, 
et que vous le luy fassiez bien comprendre." 

* Jtapin's History ; Whittle's Exact Diary. I have seen a contemporary 
Dutch chart of the order in which the fleet sailed. 


the first point of attack, three battalions of guards and a strong 
body of cavalry set out for that fortress. In a few hours it 
was kuown that Portsmouth was safe ; and these troops then 
received orders to change their route and to hasten to Salis- 

When Sunday the fourth of November dawned, the cliffs of 
the Isle of Wight were full in view of the Dutch armament. 
That day was the anniversary both of William's birth and of his 
marriage. Sail was slackened during part of the morning ; and 
divine service was performed on board of the ships. In the 
afternoon and through the night the fleet held on its course. Tor- 
bay was the place where the Prince intended to land. But the 
morning of Monday the fifth of November was hazy. The pilot 
of the Brill could not discern the sea marks, and carried the fleet 
too far to the west. The danger was great. To return in the face 
of the wind was impossible. Plymouth was the next port. But 
at Plymouth a garrison had been posted under the command of 
the Earl of Bath. The landing might be opposed : and a check 
might produce serious consequences. There could be little doubt, 
moreover, that by this time the royal fleet had got out of the 
Thames and was hastening full sail down the Channel. Russell 
saw the whole extent of the peril, and exclaimed to Burnet, "You 
may go to prayers, Doctor. All is over." At that moment the 
wind changed : a soft breeze sprang up from the south : the mist 
dispersed : the sun shone forth ; and, under the mild light of an 
autumnal noon, the fleet turned back, passed round the lofty 
cape of Berry Head, and rode safe in the harbour of Torbay.f 

Since William looked on that harbour its aspect has greatly 
changed. The amphitheatre which surrounds the spacious basin, 
now exhibits everywhere the signs of prosperity and civilization. 
At the northeastern extremity has sprung up a great watering 
place, to which strangers are attracted from the most remote 
parts of our island by the Italian softness of the air : for in that 

* Adda, Nov. 5-15, 1688 ; Newsletter in the Mackintosh Collection ; Van Cit- 
ters, Nov. C-16. 

t Burnet, i. 788 ; Extracts from the Legge Papers in the Mackintosh Collec- 

Vol. II.— 28 

434 nisTORY of England. 

climate the myrtle flourishes unsheltered, and even the winter is 
milder than the Northumbrian April. The inhabitants are about 
ten thousand in number. The newly built churches and chapels, 
the baths and libraries, the hotels and public gardens, the infir- 
mary and the museum, the white streets, rising terrace above 
terrace, the gay villas peeping from the midst of shrubberies and 
flower beds, present a spectacle widely different from any that in 
the seventeenth century England could show. At the opposite 
end of the bay lies, sheltered by Berry Head, the stirring mar- 
ket town of Brixham, the wealthiest seat of our fishing trade. 
A pier and a haven were formed there at the beginning of the 
present century, but have been found insufficient for the increas- 
ing traffic. The population is about six thousand souls. The 
shipping amounts to more than two hundred sail. The tonnage 
exceeds many times the tonnage of the port of Liverpool under 
the Kings of the House of Stuart. But Torbay, when the Dutch 
fleet cast anchor there, was known only as a haven where ships 
sometimes took refuge from the tempests of the Atlantic. Its 
quiet shores were undisturbed by the bustle either of commerce 
or of pleasure ; and the huts of ploughmen and fishermen were 
thinly scattered over what is now the site of crowded marts and 
of luxurious pavilions. 

The peasantry of the coast of Devonshire remembered the 
name of Monmouth with affection, and held Popery in detesta- 
tion. They therefore crowded down to the seaside with pro- 
visions and offers of service. The disembarkation instantly 
commenced. Sixty boats conveyed the troops to the coast. Mao 
kay was sent on shore first with the British regiments. The 
Prince soon followed. He landed where the quay of Brixham 
now stands. The whole aspect of the place has been altered. 

Where we now see a port crowded with shipping, and a mar- 
ket place swarming with buyers and sellers, the waves then broke 
on a desolate beach ; but a fragment of the rock on which the de- 
liverer stepped from his boat has been carefully preserved, and is 
set up as an object of public veneration in the centre of that 
busy wharf. 

As soon as the Prince had planted his foot on dry ground he 


called for horses. Two beasts, such as the small yeomen of that 
time were in the habit of riding, were procured from the neigh- 
bouring village. "William and Schomberg mounted and proceeded 
to examine the country. 

As soon as Burnet was on shore he hastened to the Prince. 
An amusing dialogue took place between them. Burnet poured 
forth his congratulations with genuine delight, and then eagerly 
asked what were His Highness's plans. Military men are seldom 
disposed to take counsel with gownsmen on military matters ; 
and William regarded the interference of unprofessional advisers, 
in questions relating to war with even more than the disgust or- 
dinarily felt by soldiers on such occasions. But he was at that 
moment in an excellent humour, and, instead of signifying his 
displeasure by a short and cutting reprimand, graciously extend- 
ed his hand, and answered his chaplain's question by another 
question: " Well Doctor, what do you think of predestination 
now ? " The reproof was so delicate that Burnet, whose per- 
ceptions were not very fine, did not perceive it. He answered 
with great fervour that he should never forget the signal manner 
in which Providence had favoured their undertaking.* 

During the first day the troops who had gone on shore had 
many discomforts to endure. The earth was soaked with rain. 
The baggage was still on board of the ships. Officers of high rank 
were compelled to sleep in wet clothes on the wet ground: the 
Prince himself had no better quarters than a hut afforded. His 
banner was displayed on the thatched roof ; and some bedding 
brought from the Brill was spread for him on the floor, f There 
was some difficulty about landing the horses ; and it seemed 
probable that this operation would occupy several days. But 
on the following morning the prospect cleared. The wind was 
gentle. The water in the bay was as even as glass. Some 
fishermen pointed out a place where the ships could be brought 
within sixty feet of the beach. This was done ; and in three 
hours many hundreds of horses swam safely to shore. 

* I think that nobody who compares Burnet's account of this conversation 
with Dartmouth's can doubt that I have correctly represented what passed. 

t I have seen a contemporary Dutch print of the disembarkation. Some men 
are bringing the Prince's bedding into the hut on which his flag is flying. 


The disembarkation had hardly been effected when the wind 
•ose again, and swelled into a fierce gale from the west. The 
enemy coming in pursuit down the Channel had been stopped 
by the same change of weather which enabled William to land. 
During two days the King's fleet lay on an unruffled sea in 
sight of Beachy Head. At length Dartmouth was able to pro- 
ceed. He passed the Isle of Wight, and one of his ships 
came in sight of the Dutch topmasts in Torbay. Just at this 
moment he was encountered by the tempest, and compelled to 
take shelter in the harbour of Portsmouth.* At that time 
James, who was not incompetent to form a judgment on a 
question of seamanship, declared himself perfectly satisfied that 
his admiral had done all that man could do, and had yielded 
only to the irresistible hostility of the winds and waves. At a 
later period the unfortunate prince began, with little reason, 
to suspect Dartmouth of treachery, or at least of slackness.f 

The weather had indeed served the Protestant cause so 
well that some men of more piety than judgment fully believed 
the ordinary laws of nature to have been suspended for the 
preservation of the liberty and religion of England. Exactly a 
hundred years before, they said, the Armada, invincible by man, 
had been scattered by the wrath of God. Civil freedom and 
divine truth were again in jeopardy, and again the obedient 
elements had fought for the good cause. The wind had blown 
strong from the east while the Prince wished to sail down the 
Channel, had turned to the south when he wished to enter 
Torbay, had sunk to a calm during the disembarkation, and as 
soon as the disembarkation was completed, had risen to a storm, 
and had met the pursuers in the face. Nor did men omit 
to remark that, by an extraordinary coincidence, the prince had 
reached our shores on a day on which the Church of England 
commemorated, by prayer and thanksgiving, the wonderful es- 
cape of the Royal House and of the three estates from the 

* Burnet, i. 789 ; Legge Papers. 

t On Nov. 9, 1688, James wrote to Dartmouth thus : " Nobody could work 
otherwise than you did. I am sure all knowing seamen must be of the sauia 
raind." But see the Life of James, ii. 207. Orig. Mem. 


blackest plot ever devised by Papists. Carstairs, whose sug- 
gestions were sure to meet with attention from the Prince, 
recommended that, as soon as the landing had been effected, 
public thanks should be offered to God for the protection so 
conspicuously accorded to the great enterprise. This advice was 
taken, and with excellent effect. The troops, taught to regard 
themselves as favourites of heaven, were inspired with new 
courage ; and the English people formed the most favourable 
opinion of a general and an army so attentive to the duties of 

On Tuesday, the sixth of November, William's army began 
to march up the country. Some regiments advanced as far as 
Newton Abbot. A stone set up in the midst of that little town, 
still marks the spot where the Prince's Declaration was sol- 
emnly read to the people. The movements of the troops were 
slow: for the rain fell in torrents, and the roads of England 
were then in a state which seemed frightful to persons accus- 
tomed to the excellent communications of Holland. William 
took up his quarters, during two days at Ford, a seat of the 
ancient and illustrious family of Courtney, in the neighbourhood 
of Newton Abbot. He was magnificently lodged and feasted 
there, but it is remarkable that the owner of the house, though a 
strong Whig, did not choose to be the first to put life and for- 
tune in peril, and cautiously abstained from doing anything 
which, if the King should prevail, could be treated as a crime. 

Exeter, in the meantime, was greatly agitated. Lamplugh, 
the bishop, as soon as he heard that the Dutch were at Torbay, 
set off in terror for London. The Dean fled from the deanery. 
The magistrates were for the King, the body of the inhabitants 
for the Prince. Everything was in confusion when, on the morn- 
ing of Thursday, the eighth of November, a body of troops 
under the command of Mordaunt, appeared before the city. 
With Mordaunt came Burnet, to whom William had entrusted 
the duty of protecting the clergy of the Cathedral from injury 
and insult ■* The Mayor and Aldermen had ordered the gates 
to be closed, but yielded on the first summons. The deanery 

* Burnet, i. 790. 


was prepared for the reception of the Prince. On the follow- 
ing day, Friday the ninth, he arrived. The magistrates had been 
pressed to receive him in state at the entrance of the city, but 
had steadfastly refused. The pomp of that day, however, could 
well spare them. Such a sight had never been seen in Devon- 
shire. Many of the citizens went forth half a day's journey to 
meet the champion of their religion. All the neighbouring 
villages poured forth their inhabitants. A great crowd, consist- 
ing chiefly of young peasants, brandishing their cudgels, had 
assembled on the top of Haldon Hill, whence the army, march- 
ing from Chudleigh, first descried the rich valley of the Exe, 
and the two massive towers rising from the cloud of smoke 
which overhung the capital of the West. The road, all down 
the long descent, and through the plain to the banks of the 
river, was lined, mile after mile, with spectators. From the 
West Gate to the Cathedral Close, the pressing and shout- 
ing on each side was such as reminded Londoners of the crowds 
on the Lord Mayor's day. The houses were gaily decorated. 
Doors, windows, balconies, and roofs were thronged with gazers. 
An eye accustomed to the pomp of war would have found much 
to criticise in tha spectacle. For several toilsome marches in 
the rain, through roads where one who travelled on foot sank 
at every step up to the ankles in clay, had not improved the ap- 
pearance either of the men or of their accoutrements. But 
the people of Devonshire, altogether unused to the splendour of 
well ordered camps, were overwhelmed with delight and awe. 
Descriptions of the martial pageant were circulated all over 
the kingdom. They contained much that was well fitted to 
gratify the vulgar appetite for the marvellous. For the Dutch 
army, composed of men who had been born in various climates, 
and had served under various standards, presented an aspect at 
once grotesque, gorgeous, and terrible to islanders who had, in 
general, a very indistinct notion of foreign countries. First 
rode Macclesfield at the head of two hundred gentlemen, mostly 
of English blood, glittering in helmets and cuirasses, and 
mounted on Flemish war horses. Each was attended by a negro, 
brought from the sugar plantations on the coast of Guiana. The 


citizens of Exeter, who had never seen so many specimens of 
the African race, gazed with wonder on those black faces set off 
by embroidered turbans and white feathers. Then, with drawn 
broadswords, came a squadron of Swedish horsemen in black 
armour and fur cloaks. They were regarded with a strange in- 
terest ; for it was rumoured that they were natives of a land 
where the ocean was frozen and where the ni^ht lasted through 
half the year, and that they had themselves slain the huge bears 
whose skins they wore. Next, surrounded by a goodly company 
of gentlemen and pages, was borne aloft the Prince's banner. 
On its broad folds the crowd which covered the roofs and filled 
the windows read with delight that memorable inscription, " The 
Protestant religion and the liberties of England." But the 
acclamations redoubled when, attended by forty running foot- 
men, the Prince himself appeared, armed on back and breast, 
wearing a white plume and mounted on a white charger. 
With how martial an air he curbed his horse, how thought- 
ful and commanding was the expression of his ample fore- 
head and falcon eye, may still be seen on the canvas of 
Kneller. Once those grave features relaxed into a smile. It 
was when an ancient woman, perhaps one of the zealous 
Puritans, who through twenty-eight years of persecution, 
had waited with firm faith for the consolation of Israel, per 
haps the mother of some rebel who had perished in the carnage 
of Sedgemoor, or in the more fearful carnage of the Bloody 
Circuit, broke from the crowd, rushed through the drawn 
swords and curvetting horses, touched the hand of the deliverer, 
and cried out that now she was happy. Near to the Prince 
was one who divided with him the gaze of the multitude. That, 
men said, was the great Count Schomberg, the first soldier in 
Europe, since Turenne and Conde were gone, the man whose 
genius and valour had saved the Portuguese monarchy on the 
field of Montes Claros, the man who had earned a still higher 
glory by resigning the truncheon of a Marshal of France for 
the sake of the true religion. It was not forgotten that the 
two heroes who, indissolubly united by their common Protes- 
tantism, were entering Exeter together, had twelve years before 


been opposed to each other under the walls of Maestricht, and 
that the energy of the young Prince had not then been found a 
match for the cool science of the veteran who now rode in 
friendship by his side. Then came a long column of the whisk- 
ered infantry of Switzerland, distinguished in all the Continental 
wars of two centur